Clothes hooks pose safety risk to children

Date: Jul 23, 2019

The nature of large retailers like Target or Kmart means there is a lot of stock to pack into one space. To fit the vast amount of products and maximise the floor plan, clothing racks are often steeped or stacked at different heights. Unfortunately, the lower racks can pose a safety risk to children at that height. Here, we explore cases of head and eye injuries sustained by children with clothing racks, and what compensation might be available.

A trend of injuries

There have been a number of reported cases where children have been injured from metal hook clothes racks, each one distressing.

One such case occurred in Sydney on April 18, where a five-year-old collided with a metal hook on a low clothes rack. The hook lodged into his eye, where his mother then had to remove it. The child was temporarily blinded, and was rushed to Westmead Children’s hospital for reconstructive surgery.

This echoed an incident in Ballarat, where a then two-year-old girl was impaled in the eye by a metal clothes rack hook. The child then waited 30 hours for a surgeon to operate on her eye and eyelid, which was reportedly hanging on by a small flap of skin.

What compensation could be sought for this injury?

In order to make a claim for compensation from an injury of this nature, the victim would first need to establish that the party they are claiming against was negligent in their duty of care. In New South Wales, negligence is governed under the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW). For a claim of negligence to be successful, it needs to be proven that there was a duty of care owed to the victim and the breach of this care resulted in their injury.

In the case of the clothing rack hooks, it could be argued that the stores were negligent in their duty of care by not identifying the risk of low level hooks to children. If a claim of negligence was successful, a victim may be eligible to compensation for:

  • Medical and hospital fees.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Home modifications needed, including wheelchair ramps.
  • Economic loss.

If you’re seeking compensation for an injury sustained at a store, it’s vital to reach out to the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners to support your claim.

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