Ms LW was attending Appin for visitation on her daughter with the intentions to make application in the future to retain custody.
Ms LW resides in the Forbes, New South Wales, some 400 km from Appin. As a person recovering from substance abuse, and only receiving Centrelink income, she could not afford much by way of a motel. She did the best she could and stayed at a place that she could afford. The premises, however, was extremely dilapidated.
Upon her first night upon this premises, as she was coming out of her room, she stepped on a step which was held up by 2 bricks and not secured. As a consequence, her leg fell through the step. Her leg was caught by the other steps causing her a serious fracture to her ankle and leg.
The injury was extremely serious and an ambulance needed to be called and she was admitted into hospital. Despite her serious injuries, all she could think of was that she had missed out on an opportunity to see her daughter that weekend.
The insurer denied liability despite the obvious negligence by the owner of the motel. The medical reports from the insurer’s independent medical examiners indicated that LW had only sustained a minor fracture to her ankle and that she should be able to return to her normal activities of daily living.
This in reality was not the case as Ms LW was no longer able to walk as she used to, free of pain. The injuries also prevented Ms LW from travelling the long distance to visit her daughter. She became extremely depressed.
Because Ms LW was long-term unemployed, her prospects of a future employment despite her young age were very minimal. It was also very important to her that her social security benefits do not get affected as she plans her life around her social security. Accordingly, we were instructed not to pursue a claim for past and future economic loss.
Essentially her claim would be in relation to her injuries and pain and suffering, as her treatment expenses incurred were very minimal and there was insufficient evidence to show her receiving gratuitous domestic assistance and care.
Despite these limitations, Gerard Malouf and Partners were able to secure for Ms LW compensation in the amount of $75,000.00.
This was an excellent result against an hotelier who provides the most inadequate of accommodation for those who are most needy. To ensure that most of the compensation went to Ms LW, Gerard Malouf and Partners reduced their legal costs to less than 50% so that the result be financially meaningful to Ms LW.