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NSW man takes housing department to court after floor gives way

A New South Wales man who fell through the floor of his apartment has taken his case to court after it was rejected by the Human rights Commission, claiming his needs were not taken into consideration by officers at the Department of Housing (DoH).

The claimant says that his apartment in Macquarie Fields was “termite infested”, making it unsuitable as a dwelling for someone of his size.

He asserted that at the time of the accident his weight was around 250 kilograms and that the damaged flooring in the unit he was assigned was not appropriate.

In addition, the claimant said that the department was aware of the deteriorated condition of the floorboards in the apartment before it was assigned to him.

He told the Daily Telegraph on January 6: “They gave me a house that was termite-ridden, I went through the floor.”

While the dwelling was provided to the man rent-free, he maintains that better care should have been paid to his requirements submitted as part of his housing application.

However, the department defended their position, stating that he had specifically asked to be placed somewhere in the Macquarie Fields complex.

He was given the unit as it was the only one with a shower recess large enough to accommodate his generous frame.

As a result the Human Rights Commission initially dismissed his claims on the grounds that his placement in the facility was in his best interests.

Dissatisfied with the outcome, the man then took his case to the Federal Magistrates Court to seek personal injury compensation.

He says that he made it clear in his – somewhat lengthy – application that he would require stout flooring but that the officers in charge of his case had not considered his specific health needs in their decision.

The man claims that the decision to put him in a situation where he was at risk of physical harm either showed serious inattention on behalf of DoH staff members or outright disregard for the health and safety of residents in the complex.

As a result of falling through the floor of his unit, the man received serious damage to his legs, which resulted in him developing potentially life-threatening blood clots.

These injuries meant that he was unable to move or perform arduous tasks for a length of time – meaning that his health began to suffer as he put on more weight, quickly reaching 300 kilograms.

While he has since dropped back down to 125 kilograms through an extensive lifestyle program, the man says he is still subject to ongoing health issues as a result of his fall.

In cases where negligence has resulted in physical harm, a compensation lawyer can give valuable advice on legal options.

In addition, a no win no fee agreement enables victims to have their personal injury case reviewed before committing to a claim.

© 2012 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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