When someone sustains an injury that causes lasting damage and incurs expensive medical costs, and the injured plaintiff then sues, accusations are not going to be taken lightly. The questions for the judge will be, what caused the injury? Were there measures in place to warn of the risk of injury? Was there negligence from the injuring party? Then, the question of accident compensation arises.
These questions were raised in a recent case when a woman sustained injuries after a fall while at a place of business.
How obvious were the warnings?
A woman was visiting a hardware and furniture store with her grandson and a friend. While the woman was browsing furniture, her grandson was taken to an enclosed children’s play area. She then heard her grandson cry out in distress. She rushed to get to him, opening the gate of the play area, and tripped and fell on her wrist. She suffered two fractures and ultimately had to have surgery, which required screws and plates to be inserted into her arm.
The primary judge found that where the woman fell, there was a significant raise in the floor surface that was not easily recognisable from eye level. The judge reasoned that there were not sufficient warnings in place to alert someone of the risks of the change.
However, on the floor leading to and under the gate entrance, there was yellow tape to indicate where the outside floor meets the playground floor. There was also a sign posted on the gate that read that the business would not be responsibly for any injury sustained within the playground. Notwithstanding, the judge found that the defendant should have removed the risk all together and should have foreseen that adults and children alike would be entering into the playground area and would not notice the risk from the warnings displayed.
The defendant appeals
The defendant filed an appeal on the grounds that the findings were not compliant with section s 5B, s 5C(b), or 5D read with s 5E of the Civil Liability Act, which prevent someone from being found negligent for a variety of logical reasons about accidental fault and premeditation of risk. The appellant did not challenge the determination of contributory negligence, which was assessed at a 20 per cent deduction of the judgement amount.
The appeal was allowed with costs, and the plaintiff was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs.
Contact our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today if you have any questions about personal injuries.