Appeals are a crucial part of the legal system, enabling people who believe a judge has erred in a decision to have the matter reheard.
Not all appeals occur after a plaintiff loses their case, however. In fact, a successful claimant can also dispute a decision if they feel they were insufficiently compensated during the original trial.
This situation recently arose at the NSW Court of Appeal when a man who was awarded $75,547 following a slip and fall claim sought further damages for the injuries he suffered as a result of the accident.
The plaintiff in the case slipped and fell after running across a wet, tiled outdoor area that formed part of a nearby shopping village, seriously injuring his back. The floor was slippery due to recent rainfall, and the man claimed it was raining when the accident occurred.
According to court documents, the original trial judge ruled that the shopping village failed to provide a safe environment for patrons and was negligent by not using an anti-slip coating on the tiled area.
The man’s compensation included a 10 per cent reduction for contributory negligence due to the fact he was running at the time of the accident. The judge said the plaintiff should have recognised the surface was unsafe after taking a few steps and adjusted his speed accordingly.
The plaintiff appealed for more compensation, stating that the original judge erred in finding the man contributorily negligent and failed to account for subsequent injuries and illnesses that he suffered.
The man argued that the incident not only aggravated his pre-existing Scheuermann’s disease but also caused significant psychological damage and led to a dependency on painkillers.
The appellate judges rejected the man’s appeal, ruling that he had not been able to prove that his subsequent injuries and afflictions were the result of his slip and fall.
His drug dependency and psychological problems were more likely related to an assault he suffered several months after the shopping village accident. The plaintiff therefore received no additional damages for his injuries, although he should still receive the original compensation that the courts awarded him.
Would you like to pursue a public liability claim for a slip, trip or fall you’ve experienced?
Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers has a team of experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you with your case.