Carer suffers permanent disability after accident at work

Date: Jun 15, 2017

A woman who suffered serious injuries that left her unable to return to the workplace has received compensation for past and future economic losses that resulted from an accident.

The plaintiff was a carer who experienced multiple problems after taking on too much weight while helping a colleague lower a man with severe cerebral palsy onto a toilet. It was agreed between the parties that the accident occurred due to negligence on the behalf of the other carer.

According to court documents, the woman now suffers:

  • Injuries to her lower back, which required spinal fusion surgery;
  • Scarring;
  • Ongoing pain in her lower back and legs;
  • Difficulty in sports and leisure participation;
  • Bladder issues due to nerve damage;
  • Dependency on others; and
  • Depression and anxiety due to her injuries.

While both parties in the case agreed damages should be paid, the overall amount was contested before District Court Judge Judith Gibson.

How much compensation was due?

The plaintiff made a claim for nearly $500,000, which she said would cover past and future loss of income and superannuation, including potential self-employment opportunities as a masseuse and equine therapist.

The defendant – the care home that employed her – argued that $265,535 was a fairer sum due to inconsistencies in the plaintiff's evidence regarding her working hours and the fact she'd never earned money from self-employment.

Whereas the plaintiff implied she had been available for full-time work and her claim reflected the hours she expected to lose, the care home said she was only a casual staff member employed to do two days a week.

"At no time was [the plaintiff] employed on a full-time basis, nor was she ever offered full time employment. In my 18 years [at the firm] I have not had a single support staff member offered full-time employment," the plaintiff's manager explained.

The judge's decision

Pay records supported the defendant's stance, with the judge ruling that the care home's estimate of past and future lost income was the most accurate reflection.

Judge Gibson also rejected the plaintiff's claim for possible self-employment losses, as no evidence was provided to suggest she had – or ever would – earn money through these pursuits.

Nevertheless, the woman is set to receive more than $265,000 in compensation. She may also be eligible for a total and permanent disability claim if her injuries prevent her from ever re-entering the workplace.

Would you like to learn more about personal injury compensation and TPD claims? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for more information.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.