Change location v

Elderly Pensioner receives Compensation for Injury sustained on a Treadmill

Case Overview
  • Our client was an elderly pensioner living in a retirement village that had an exercise facility.
  • She suffered a fracture of the left humerus and an injury to her left shoulder in a treadmill accident.
  • The court ordered the retirement village to pay our client $160k compensation for her injuries, loss, and damages.

Our client was an elderly pensioner living in a retirement village located west of Lake Macquarie region. The retirement village provided an exercise facility with the installation of their exercise equipment including a treadmill and a stationary bicycle. The exercise facility was part of increasing the amenities for the residents of the retirement village.

On this occasion our client stood on a treadmill which commenced at a fast pace. Our client reacted immediately to stop the treadmill. The belt did not stop and was moving too fast for our client to walk on, but she was unable to maintain speed with the treadmill belt and fell and was injured.

As a result of the fall our client fell on her left shoulder and on both of her knees. She was taken to hospital by ambulance and suffered a fracture of the left humerus and an injury to her left shoulder. She was suffering from pain and stiffness in the left shoulder, and in both knees. She has diminished ability to walk. She had to use her walker. She found it difficult to get on and off the steps on the bus. She finds it difficult to do her washing. Her hobby used to be swimming which she is unable to do as well as gardening.

We forwarded a letter of demand to the retirement village. We obtained the incident report which confirms one of the workers in the equipment facility area at the time but was called away and therefore our client was left unsupervised, causing her to fall and suffer injuries. Liability was denied by the retirement village.


“We commenced court proceedings in negligence against the retirement village for failing to take any adequate precaution for the safety of our client and failing to provide competent appropriate employee to instruct and train our client whilst using the treadmill as well as failure to ensure the treadmill was in proper functioning order as the button was not working at the time of the accident.”

Our Approach

We commissioned a liability expert report from an exercise physiologist who confirmed in his opinion that the provision of an adequate orientation and induction session for individuals for the retirement village and the provision of adequate signage within the exercise facility for the use of the treadmill constitutes reasonable and necessary risk management procedures that should have been implemented by the retirement village. Had both of these measures been implemented or at the very least either one of them, it is unlikely that our client would have incurred the injury that she did whilst using the treadmill.

We arranged for our client to be independently medically examined and assessed in relation to her injuries and continuing disabilities arising from the accident. Our orthopaedic assessment found that she was suffering from 25% permanent loss of use of the left arm, 10% loss of use of left arm and left shoulder, 10% loss of use of left knee, and 10% loss of use of right knee. These injuries were because of the accident and were of a permanent nature. The court listed the matter for hearing and the medical and liability experts were required to attend court to give evidence in the proceedings. Our client was pleased with the outcome of the determination of the claim in her favour.

If you are a lawful entrant or a visitor on-premises and you suffer serious injuries as a result of the negligence of another party you may be entitled to damages in compensation as a result of your injuries, losses, and damages arising from the accident. You would need to establish negligence against the other party to succeed in the claim.

In this case, our client was a resident within the retirement village and used the exercise equipment provided by the retirement village for the use of the residents at the retirement village only. Our client had not used a treadmill for many years and while she using the treadmill and the staff had been called away our client had been left to her own devices to use the treadmill and as a result of the button not operating correctly to stop the treadmill, she fell of the treadmill and suffered serious injuries in the process. A liability expert report found that retirement village and the staff were negligent in causing our client’s injuries and the accident. 

The Result

At the completion of the hearing the court ordered the retirement village to pay our client $160,000.00 by way of compensation damages as a result of her injuries, losses and damages arising from the accident.

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 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.

Your location is currently: