PhD student loses $4 million public liability case

Date: Sep 25, 2015

A man in New South Wales recently failed to receive injury compensation after walking into a door in Sydney's Broadway shopping centre. The medical engineering student said a puddle of liquid that hadn't been cleaned up caused him to collide with the door, causing head injuries that affected his studies.

The October 2010 incident occurred as he was walking to the car park in the shopping centre. Despite the man somewhat cushioning the fall with his arms, the NSW District Court heard how his head collided with the glass door with "some force", leading to headaches after the incident.

In April 2012, the man underwent an an MRI scan and doctors found a possible brain aneurysm, which the claimant argued was a result of the impact.

Since then, the plaintiff claimed his work and family life deteriorated as a result of the injury, with pain felt throughout his body limiting his ability to help at home, look after his children and support his family through his job as a taxi driver. He also said the impact on his physical health had affected his ambitions to enter politics.

Taking the matter to court, he pursued a $4 million public liability injury claim against Mirvac, the centre's management company, and the site's contract cleaners, Access Group Solutions, on the grounds of negligence.

However, the NSW District Court found last month that there were not enough grounds to support a public liability injury claim. NSW Judge Elkaim analysed CCTV evidence, although the quality of it proved inconclusive in creating a ruling.

The Judge also explained that alleged lower back, bowel and other pains noted by the plaintiff could not be attributed to the fall.

"I think what can be deduced with clarity from the CCTV is that, contrary to the plaintiff's version, he simply walked into the pane of glass," Judge Elkaim explained in his ruling.

"The use of photographs and other like material, including film, must be treated with a great deal of caution. Applying every measure of caution, however, I cannot reach any conclusion other than that I have just stated."

The damages sought by the claimant were also found to have been excessive. The Court ruled that even if he had been successful with his claim, only ?$121,750 would have been rewarded in damages to cover past and future economic losses as well as medical expenses. Instead, the plaintiff was ordered to pay the legal costs of both defendants once these have been determined.

Despite the outcome of this one case, it's important to remember that some slip and fall injury claims are worth pursuing. An experienced lawyer with knowledge of this area will be able to analyse the information, collect evidence and help you understand if you have a case for a public liability compensation claim.

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