Time is critical, but not an absolute barrier to pursue a claim, following a Slip and Fall in Merrylands shopping centre

PUBLISHED 26 Oct 2017

Ms SD was an elderly lady. Despite her age, she continued to be the caretaker of a prominent Church. In December 2012 she attended a shopping centre in Merrylands with a friend. As they were walking past the shops, SD stepped into a liquid substance causing her to fall heavily. There was a security guard nearby and assistance was called.

A wheelchair was provided, but instead of taking her to a medical centre which was available in the complex, she was taken by wheelchair back to her car.

She had hoped that her injuries would recover. Most of her injuries did, except for her left leg which still had pain. It was not until the end of March 2017 that she made enquiries with Gerard Malouf and Partners.

She had instructed Gerard Malouf and Partners that an incident report had been taken. When making enquiries with the shopping centre we were informed that there had been no incident reported on the said date of accident. CCTV footage was requested, but the footage provided was again of a different date.

The delay of four months had led to a denial of the incident having occurred at all.

The client’s recollection of the date of the incident was not of assistance either as her recollection conflicted with that of her friend. We were inevitably faced with three possible accident dates. It was only through the ingenuity of GMP that we were able to identify with certainty the date of accident.

SD did not recall that she attended upon her general practitioner the next day, and it was only through a request for Medicare records that we identified she attended her GP the day after the accident. A request for the clinical notes confirmed the date of accident.

This date was vehemently denied by the Defendant, particularly because SD had asserted that her accident occurred on a different date. Nevertheless, GMP remained composed following a barrage of submissions and threats of abuse of process, and short of fraud. Essentially they were accusing a long time church caretaker of being a liar. They had accused her of making it up, and that the injuries that she sustained could have been from a fall other than at their complex.

Through our further investigations we were also able to identify that cleaning in the area on the alleged date of accident was not in accordance with safe practices.

Despite the evidence at hand the defendants did not waiver until it was time to have the matter set down for hearing. It was very soon thereafter that reasonable offers were then made.

Although SD’s injuries had recovered somewhat, and her stoic personality saw her remain quite independent, Gerard Malouf and Partners were able to obtain for her much needed compensation for her injury and the treatment that she would continue to need.

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