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A Customer Gets $120K Compensation After Tripping Over an Unseen Wet Floor Sign

Case Overview
  • Our client suffered a trip and fall injury when she was walking within the external entrance of the defendant’s premises.
  • Our client suffered many injuries and also suffered from trauma and shock due to the accident.
  • GMP helped her get $120,000 compensation in respect of the defendant’s negligence.

Our client was a customer at a fast-food chain restaurant in Central Northern NSW. She was attending the premises with her children for the purposes of purchasing food. The defendant fast food chain was a commercial enterprise being undertaken at the premises including selling food and drinks to customers that could be consumed on the premises or taken away.

Our client suffered a trip and fall injury when she was walking within the external entrance of the defendant’s premises. She was required to walk past a wall towards the entrance of the premises. As she turned onto the designated ramp area, she stepped upon a plastic caution floor sign which had been allowed to fall on to the floor causing her to lose balance, full and suffer injury. This was all seen on CCTV Footage.

Our client suffered a head injury, cut to her forehead, fractures of both elbows, an injury to her right knee, left knee, injuries to both hands, trauma and shock. She saw her doctor who referred her to specialists for treatment to assist with her recovery and rehabilitation.

“The defendant denied liability in relation to our client’s injuries. We launched legal proceedings against the fast-food chain restaurant in negligence for our clients’ injuries, losses and damages.”

Nassir Bechara
Our Approach

We commissioned a liability expert report in the matter. It was noted that sign was placed within an area of the defendant’s external area where pedestrians will travel. The defendant failed to ensure the control measures they installed including a plastic sign that was adequate for the area. The sign is designed for indoor use and has a high probability of toppling over due to external weather conditions. The hazard of the sign toppling over should have been foreseeable to the defendant. This sign could have been easily changed to a more stable type of sign which is highlighted within their own cleaning procedures.

Furthermore it was observed from the CCTV footage that the ceramic tiled floor was dry and the sign should have been removed immediately as it posed a hazard two pedestrians. The defendant  did not serve any liability expert evidence in reply. It was clear that the floor sign was not an obvious risk to our client and any other pedestrians having regard to the circumstances of this accident

We arranged for our client to be independently medically examined and assessed and it was determined by the doctors that she was suffering from 15% loss of use of her right arm and right elbow, 20% loss of use of the left arm and left elbow, 20% permanent impairment of the right knee and 20% permanent impairment of the left knee. This was in addition to the psychological trauma arising from the injury. She requested domestic care and assistance for herself and her children due to her permanent impairment. The matter was listed for hearing and the court ordered that the parties arrange for a mediation hearing to narrow the liability and medical issues in no matter.

If you suffer an injury because of being on another person’s premises and your injuries are due to their negligence, then you may be entitled to receive award damages in compensation as a result your injuries suffered from the accident due to their negligence. It is a fundamental requirement that you establish negligence against the other party to succeed in your claim.

In this case we were able to establish that the wet floor sign was a trip hazard and not an obvious risk and that she was exercising care on her own part by keeping a proper lookout at all times. For a free no obligation consultation please contact our Toll-free number on 1800 004 878 so that an appointment can be arranged to attend our office to protect your legal rights arising from your accident.

The Result

At the conclusion of the hearing the defendant was ordered to pay our client damages in compensation in the amount of $120,000 in respect of the defendant’s negligence and our client’s injuries, losses and damages.

Nassir Bechara

Special Counsel
I strongly recommend Gerard Malouf & Partners for their dedicated client service and expertise. Nassir Bechara particularly supported my claim process with sound advice and compassion. In such a challenging legal process I entrusted him with looking after my best interests and he and his team exceeded well beyond my expectations. Nassir did more than follow a process.
Frequently Asked Questions

More Information

Public liability refers to the responsibilities owners or occupants of a public space have to protect anyone who enters. If the owners or occupants fall short of these responsibilities, resulting in an injury, a case for compensation can be made.

Some of the most common incidents covered by public liability law include:

  • The food or drink from a restaurant makes you sick: The most common example of this type of public liability is food poisoning, however improperly disclosed allergens could also lead to litigation.
  • A slip and fall accident caused by negligence: Slip and fall incidents are especially common in busy public places such as playgrounds, schools, shopping centres, common walkways in buildings and outdoor event venues. They can result from negligent behaviour if poorly lit, uneven, unmarked or slippery surfaces are involved, amongst other reasons.
  • Injury caused by poor workmanship: If a product used by a space fails mechanically and causes an injury, a public liability claim can often be made. Examples include exploding gas bottles, poorly constructed furnishings and inadequate building structures. These cases may also be eligible for product liability litigation, if you decide to pursue both the property owner and the product manufacturer.
  • An attack by an animal while in a space: If the owners or occupants of a space fail to keep an animal, whether domestic or wild, contained as a result of negligence, you may have a potential case.

Following an initial meeting, the first task will be to establish the general facts of the case. This will include your medical diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed and documented by a doctor; and proof that the person or company at fault owed you a duty of care, which will need to be demonstrated. Together, this will show that your injury occurred when they breached that duty of care.

From there a further investigation will proceed—contacting and interviewing witnesses, speaking with expert consultants, and more—all in order to bolster the strength of your case even further. Only once this process is complete, and your claim can be demonstrated and proven in full, will the process move on to the next step.

Public liability claims enable you to recoup the financial and emotional costs of suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence. Defendants regularly offer monetary settlements to claimants, particularly if they acknowledge liability and believe they would lose in court.

But should you accept the settlement or proceed to the later stages of litigation instead, where a judge will have the final decision? Every case is different, but here are some of the factors you may wish to consider before making your choice:

  1. The size of the settlement
  2. The strength of your case
  3. Your patience levels
  4. Your lawyer’s advice

More Case Summaries

About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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