During lunch time in June 2018, our client was walking along the public pavement in Sydney CBD, where the path was a declining slope and some steps that were installed parallel to the road. As our client was weaving through the crowd of pedestrians, he moved towards the building side of the pavement, when he tripped on the small step and sustained serious injuries.
The subject step was difficult for our client to see as the step and the surrounding footpath were constructed with the same pavers and the step began to gradually form perpendicular, as the footpath gradually sloped downwards. There were no visual warnings of the presence of the step, which highlighted the step’s existence to everyday pedestrians.
Our client came to us for advice a few weeks after the incident, when he had realised that the injuries he had sustained to his left ankle required surgery and that he would face a long recovery process. In particular, prior to this incident, our client led an active and healthy lifestyle. This injury impacted upon our client’s ability to engage in sporting activities including marathons, squash and compete in ‘boot camp’ style events. Unfortunately, soon after the incident our client was let go by his previous employer and throughout the litigation process, our client had multiple changes in his employment, due to the injuries he had sustained.
Proceedings in this matter were commenced against the joint owners and occupiers of the commercial premises where the incident occurred, arguing that the owners were responsible for the construction and maintenance of the subject step.
The team at Gerard Malouf and Partners performed multiple site views to analyse the incident location, gather evidence and prepare for the anticipate defences and arguments that the opposing parties would raise. Following our initial investigations, we obtained an expert liability report in support of the matter which concluded that the subject step should have been highlighted in some contrasting material in order to bring the step to pedestrians’ attention.
Once the team had obtained its supporting expert liability evidence, they began collating the evidence in respect of the damages to be claimed in the matter. our client was assessed by an Orthopaedic Surgeon who was of the opinion that our client’s injury would continue to impact upon his life, in particular with repetitive movements, lifting heavy objects and navigating stairs and uneven slopes.
Our team continued to press the matter against all the parties and strongly argued our position to achieve an efficient and satisfactory settlement amount against both owners that was above $260,000. Our client was pleased with this sum of money as this will enable him to pursue his personal, social and business interests, and move on from this difficult time.
If you have been involved in a trip and fall incident along a footpath, contact the expert public liability team at Gerard Malouf and Partners today.