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A Lady Gets $115K in Compensation After A Fall Caused by Unsafe Council Work

Case Overview
  • Council had recently carried out work at an intersection which did not meet safety requirements.
  • As a result, our client fell and fractured her wrist.
  • We negotiated a settlement of $115,000 for the elderly lady.

Council had recently carried out works at an intersection, which did not meet safety requirements. Our client fell because of a height difference between the gutter and the road. Due to the fall, our client fractured her wrist. The injury meant that our client suffered several restrictions, one of which involved intricate work with jewellery for which she had previously received awards for. 

 

In preparing this claim we sought information from the Council relevant to the work conducted, the information revealed that many people had suffered injuries as a result of the unsafe state of 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.”


Susan Newman
Our Approach

The Council denied liability and 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.

Gerard Malouf and Partners 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, injuries and formed the basis for her compensation claim. The defendant Council also obtained an opinion from an orthopaedic surgeon, who claimed that our client’s injuries had 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, to explore the possibility of agreeing to a negotiated settlement before 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 but we continued to press the Council in the following days.

The Result

In the days that followed, we continued to urge the Council, and the parties came to an arrangement worth $115,000 between them.

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.

 

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

 

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Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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