Court rules against woman in late-night slip-and-fall case

Date: Jul 24, 2020

The Federal Court of Australia recently heard the case of a woman who was injured in a fall at a hotel during a work trip, and tried to sue her employer for workers' compensation. In the end, it found that the company was not liable for the injury, as it occurred well after work hours.

In September 2016, Danielle Dring was in Melbourne on business, working for Telstra and attending workshops related to her role, according to court documents. During that trip, she and a colleague went out to socialise at a restaurant and visited a cocktail bar, after the events of the day had wrapped up. She returned to her hotel around 2:30 a.m. and used the public bathroom before heading up to her room.

The injury

Upon coming out of the bathroom, Dring slipped on wet tile and fell, resulting in a contusion on her left hip. She tried to claim workers' compensation with Telstra, but was rejected on the grounds that the injury did not occur in the course of her typical work, even though she was on a business trip at the time.

The question of whether she was intoxicated as a result of the night out was certainly considered: Dring acknowledged that she and the colleague had consumed alcohol throughout the night – but she claimed she was not significantly impaired, and a Tribunal previously accepted that as fact. None of the facts surrounding the incident were, consequently, in dispute.

The decision

Ultimately, though, the Federal Court upheld the Tribunal's decision that Dring could not claim workers' compensation, largely because the incident occurred more than eight hours after her work duties ended and was not directly related to any work she had to do for Telstra.

However, given other circumstances, it may be possible that this case did involve a public liability issue. If you or someone you know has been injured or made ill in a public space and believe it was the result of negligence, it's critical to know your options for claiming damages.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we have more than 35 years of experience in making sure people get the money they deserve, and we would love to help you do the same. Give us a call as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation – and rest assured that with a 90-day complimentary trial of our legal services and our No Win No Fee program, you'll get the full picture of your options with no financial risk.

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