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Western Sydney woman receives compensation for public pool negligence

Case Overview
  • A large shade umbrella was caught in a gust of wind and lifted from its base, colliding with our client and pushing her into the pool.
  • Our experienced solicitor recognised our client’s injuries had a substantial impact on her ability to carry out domestic duties.
  • With the assistance of one of our expert barristers, we succeeded at hearing. 

In January 2019, our client attended her local pool with her children. Whilst sitting on the edge of the pool, assisting her child in the water, a large shade umbrella was caught in a gust of wind and lifted from its base. The umbrella was carried in the wind and collided with our client, pushing her into the pool.

As a result of the incident, our client sustained injuries to her head, neck, shoulder and back. She visited her GP for investigation. She took some time off work as she was in a lot of pain.

In the weeks after the incident, our client’s injuries did not subside, and her family encouraged her to seek compensation for her injuries, so she contacted Gerard Malouf and Partners, experienced personal injury lawyers. Our client spoke to one of our caring and skilled lawyers about the incident and subsequent pain that she was experiencing.

Our Approach

Our client was assisted by solicitor Richele Nelsen, one of our personal injury law accredited specialists who encouraged our client to have all of her injuries fully investigated.

Our experienced solicitor organised for our client to be assessed by one of our expert medico-legal doctors for the preparation of a report to provide evidence to support her claim. We recognised our client’s injuries had a substantial impact on her ability to carry out domestic duties, so we made sure to also obtain expert evidence in support of her need for assistance around the house.

At the informal settlement conference, the insurer failed to recognise that their client’s negligence was a clear breach of their duty of care and did not offer our client an amount of compensation within the recommend range.

Recognising the strength of our case, we put on an early offer of compromise, ensuring that in the event that we won at the hearing, the Defendant would be required to pay more of our client’s legal costs than usually required.

We continued to prepare our client’s matter for hearing, going above and beyond to ensure that we obtained evidence in support of all aspects of our client’s claim.

The Result

Confident in our client’s claim, we were prepared to fight all the way to the hearing for her matter. With the assistance of one of our expert barristers, we succeeded at the hearing, with the judge awarding our client over $169,000 in compensation.

On top of this, the Defendant was also required to pay a significant amount of our client’s legal fees, as a result of our early and strategic offer of compromise, maximising the amount our client received.

Richele Nelsen Compensation Lawyer

Richele Nelsen

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence – Confucius
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.


Every land owner and business owner has a responsibility to their customers and the general public that their environment will be safe and hazard-free. As long as you are on the property legally or it is a public space, any injuries that you suffer could be the basis for a public liability claim.

This is a growing part of the Australian legal system with many people still unaware that this is a possibility. However, with the right evidence and legal team, you have the ability to claim back medical expenses and lost wages among other payments.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we offer both free over-the-phone advice and face-to-face consultation calls with potential clients. During these discussions, it is important that you have a sufficient amount of information about your case to pass onto us. This helps us to determine the validity of your case with accuracy and ensure you have the best chance of success, if the claim moves forward.

As such, the following types of information could help boost your claim.

  • Medical reports citing what injuries you suffered, what treatment you were provided with and what treatment you need in the coming weeks, months or years.
  • Evidence taken from the accident site – photographs, witness statements, land owner details etc.
  • Financial records which highlight a loss of income or outstanding medical bills.
  • Detailed report of the incident from your perspective.

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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