Plaintiff awarded $1,354,026 in damages after workplace incident

Date: Aug 15, 2019

In the 12 months between 2016 and 2017, there were more than 106,000 serious Australian workers’ compensation claims made, according to SafeWork NSW. The same report also details that labourers were responsible for the most claims.

In the below case, we take a look at how one labourer suffered significant injury in the workplace after recently starting a job.

Background of the workplace injury

On May 10, 2012, the plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a labourer at the defendant’s factory in Greenacre. The plaintiff was instructed by the defendant to manually lift and transfer various pieces of marble between different locations in the factory. Larger marble slabs were stored on steel A-frames and were moved using a forklift.

At around 12:30 p.m on the same day, the plaintiff assisted other employees by unloading a truck full of large marble slabs. Each slab reportedly weighed around 250 kilograms. There were no A-frames to help with the task so workers were instructed to lean the marble slabs against a metal skip bin. During this task, three of the marble slabs fell onto the plaintiff.

The man suffered fractures to both ankles and his left wrist. He was taken to hospital and underwent surgery.

Following the incident, the plaintiff brought a claim against the defendant for work injury damages.

The defendant’s argument

While the defendant agreed that the plaintiff had suffered some injury as a result of the incident, it submitted evidence that the man was potentially exaggerating illness for the claim. Here, the court was shown a video of the plaintiff leaving a medical appointment. The defendant claimed that the man was not limping as he had said he was.

After asking the man to walk across the courtroom and reading through medical reports detailing the plaintiff’s ongoing suffering and inability to perform basic tasks, the court felt satisfied that the man was truly in pain.

As such, the plaintiff was awarded a total of $1,354,026 in work injury damages.

If you have suffered injury as a result of a workplace incident that shouldn’t have happened, it’s important you speak to a specialist lawyer about your options. Here at Gerard Malouf & Partners, we can help guide you through the procedural process. For more information, get in touch with the team today.

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