Compensation case for injury from faulty chair in Liverpool food court leaving minor injuries resolved amicably just before Court

PUBLISHED 20 May 2016

Mr JJ attended a food court in Liverpool in April 2015. He was there with friends. He proceeded to sit on a chair. Mr JJ is a heavy statured man of approximately 100 kg. The chair, without warning, broke underneath him, causing him to fall.

At the time of the incident, he was only 19 years of age and had only just completed his higher school certificate without an ATAR. His limited academic prospects is a consequence of his Tourette syndrome which also affects his anxiety and depression.

As a consequence of the fall, it was alleged that he had suffered from back pain. He attended a physiotherapist on only a few occasions. He did not have imaging to confirm the back pain and he was not on medication for the pain or anti-inflammatories.

His attendances upon his general practitioner were also very limited. The treatment costs in a year was less than $1,500.00.

Despite the limited medical evidence at hand, Gerard Malouf and Partners accepted this case on a no win, no fee basis, accepting JJ's instructions in good faith, recognising that the matter would more likely than not cover GMP's costs at full freight. Despite this, GMP upheld their commitment to JJ to continue acting on his behalf, despite the quantum of the matter being evidently limited.

JJ was assessed by two independent medical examiners, one engaged by GMP, the other engaged by the defendant solicitors. Both the doctors assess JJ as having an injury equivalent to 0% whole person impairment. This assessment, however, does not mean that JJ was not injured. It simply means that his injury cannot be assessed in accordance with the normal methods of assessing injury agreed upon by the medical profession.

Despite the difficulties associated with the claim, GMP pressed on up to and including the listing of the status conference. An informal settlement conference was scheduled and the status conference was adjourned for two weeks to accommodate the informal settlement conference.

At the informal settlement conference, the defendant commenced negotiations informing us that only a commercial offer will be made. This offer was far below in the expectations and would not even cover the disbursements incurred in the pursuit of this claim. Through the expertise of the solicitors at Gerard Malouf and Partners and their varying backgrounds, the solicitor with carriage relied upon the defendant’s medico-legal report which stated words to the effect that JJ may have been suffering from a pain syndrome, which is a psychiatric condition. Submissions were then made that if the matter was not to resolve then additional cost will be expended in investigating the extent of the possible pain syndrome that JJ was experiencing, as a consequence of an aggravation/exacerbation of his pre-existing Tourette's and anxieties.

More appropriate, an amicable settlement figures flowed from those submissions, ultimately resulting in the matter resolving for $70,000.00.

Understandably, the client was exceptionally happy about the resolution of the matter running one year and 10 days to resolution.

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