Change location v

Elderly Lady falls as a result of unsafe works by Council gets $115,000 compensation

Case Overview
  • Elderly Lady falls as a result of unsafe works by Council. The fall resulted in our client suffering a very nasty fracture to her wrist, rendering her unable to perform her very intricate and award winning jewlery work.
  • We obtained an expert opinion which supported the proposition that the works conducted by the Council, at the time of our client’s fall were not safe. We also obtained reports from an orthopaedic surgeon and an occupational therapist supporting the claim.
  • While we were not able to achieve a settlement on the day of the informal settlement conference, we continued to press the Council in the following days and an agreement was reached between the parties in the sum of $115,000.

Council had recently carried out works at an intersection, which did not meet safety requirements. Our client fell as a result of a significant height differential between the gutter and the road. The fall resulted in our client suffering a very nasty fracture to her wrist. The injury meant that our client suffered a number of restrictions, one of which involved intricate work with jewellery for which she had previously received awards for.

We obtained an expert opinion that supported the proposition that the works conducted by the Council, at the time of our client’s fall were not safe.

Susan Newman
Our Approach

In preparing this claim we sought information from the Council relevant to the work conducted, the information revealed that a number of persons had suffered injuries as a result of the unsafe state of works. We obtained an expert opinion that supported the proposition that the works conducted by the Council, at the time of our client’s fall were not safe. Despite this, the Council denied liability and/or alleged that our client contributed to her injuries as she had failed to keep a proper lookout before stepping off the footpath towards her parked car.

We commenced proceedings in the District Court of NSW and obtained reports from an orthopaedic surgeon and an occupational therapist. The evidence detailed our client’s ongoing restrictions and injuries and formed the basis for her claim for compensation. The defendant Council also obtained an opinion from an orthopaedic surgeon, who claimed that our client’s injuries had been resolved.

Our client’s matter was set down for hearing in the Sydney District Court, however, the Court directed the parties to participate in an informal settlement conference, so as to explore the possibility of agreeing to a negotiated settlement prior to the hearing.

At the settlement conference, the defendant Council did not maintain their denial of liability but did maintain their position in respect of contributory negligence.

While we were not able to achieve a settlement on the day of the informal settlement conference, we continued to press the Council in the following days and an agreement was reached between the parties in the sum of $115,000.

The Result

Through various efforts, we were able to reach an agreement between the parties in the sum of $115,000.

Susan Newman Lawyer

Susan Newman

Senior Associate
Have enough courage to start and enough heart to finish. – Jessica N. S. Yourko
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.

 

Public liability claims centre on the issue of negligence. Put simply, an individual or organisation is usually deemed negligent if they owed you a duty of care and they breach this obligation by failing to protect you from harm.

However, establishing negligence isn’t enough to receive compensation. You must also make a direct correlation between the defendant’s negligence and your injuries. This link is called ‘factual causation’ and the general principles are outlined in the Civil Liability Act 2002.
 

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

 

Explore

More Case Summaries

© 2021 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

Website Design by MediaSmiths

Your location is currently: