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$250K settlement for man who inadvertently stepped into a depression in a shopping centre carpark

Case Overview
  • Our client was injured which he inadvertently stepped into a depression in a shopping centre carpark.
  • We sued the owner of the shopping centre on the basis that they owed our client a duty of care and they breached their duty of care by failing to provide customers access to a safe carpark and failing to rectify the depression.
  • We were able to secure our client a settlement of $250,000 to compensate him for his injuries, his time off work, pain and suffering, need for past and future domestic assistance and his past and future economic loss.

This matter involved a middle-aged man who attended a suburban shopping centre. Our client intended on placing his shopping in the back seat of his car and as he proceeded to step off the kerb onto the carpark surface to get access to his car, the Plaintiff inadvertently stepped into a concealed depression in the surface of the carpark. As a result, our client lost his balance, fell to the ground and sustained serious injuries including a ligament tear of the right foot and a disc injury to the lumbar spine including nerve impingement.

"Prior to the injury, our client was employed as a subject coordinator at a high school. Our client was required to have approximately 3 weeks off work as a result of his injury. Prior to the injury, our client was healthy and did not have any pre-existing injuries to his left ankle."

Pauline Yacoub
Our Approach

As a result of his ongoing pain and suffering, our client contacted Gerard Malouf and Partners to enquire about making a personal injury claim for compensation. Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation Lawyers then began to gather evidence from our client’s treating doctors and had our client assessed by an expert orthopaedic surgeon, neurologist and occupational therapist to determine the extent of his injuries and provide a report on the impact these injuries had on his life.

Prior to the injury, our client was employed as a subject coordinator at a high school. Our client was required to have approximately 3 weeks off work as a result of his injury. Prior to the injury, our client was healthy and did not have any pre-existing injuries to his left ankle.

Our team obtained an expert liability report from a safety management and building specialist, who provided the opinion that the Defendant failed to conduct a risk assessment of the carpark or carry out regular and routine maintenance within the carpark. The expert opined that the Defendant failed in its duty of care to provide a safe access and egress within the carpark.

Proceedings in the District Court were commenced against the shopping centre owners. In an effort to keep costs down for our client, our expert team arranged a settlement conference with the Defendant prior to the matter proceeding to hearing. At this settlement conference, the parties engaged in lengthy negotiations and we were able to secure a figure of $250,000.00 for our client to compensate him for the injuries and ongoing implications of his unfortunate incident.

The Result

We were able to secure a figure of $250,000.00 in compensation for our client's injuries and complications.

Pauline Yacoub Lawyer

Pauline Yacoub

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31:8,9.
Frequently Asked Questions

More Information

When making a claim under the Act you become known as the ‘claimant’, and the person you are acting against becomes known as the ‘respondent.’ Before commencing proceedings against the respondent, the claimant must give written notice of the claim, which must contain the following:

  • A statement of the information surrounding the claim;
  • Authority for the respondent and the respondent’s insurer to have access to your records, being medical records etc; and
  • Documents as required by the legislation.


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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 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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