A Perth girl who suffered catastrophic brain injuries after touching an electrified garden tap will not receive an early compensation payment to help her parents cover crucial medical expenses.
Eleven-year-old Denishar Woods was reportedly shocked with up to 230 volts of electricity when she touched the tap, which was in the backyard of her family’s public housing residence in Beldon.
Denishar spent two months in hospital but has since returned to school. She was left unable to walk, talk or see, although she can communicate with her mother and teachers through blinking. However, the WA government has refused to pay a $3.2 million ex-gratia settlement to the Woods family.
The National Indigenous Critical Response Service (NICRS) slammed the state government’s decision to reject the payment, branding it “morally and politically abominable”.
Gerry Georgatos, national co-ordinator of the support group, told news.com.au that the Woodses are under enormous financial pressure since the accident in March.
The family are pursuing a public liability claim, but the case could take several years to resolve, leaving them struggling financially in the meantime.
“The ex-gratia partial advance on the due compensation would have significantly reduced distress levels for the family, reduced vulnerabilities, improved life circumstance, would have provided security with a home owned by Denishar, would have afforded specialist carers and therapies,” Mr Georgatos said.
WA Housing Minister Peter Tinley confirmed the Building and Energy Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety had launched a formal investigation into what caused the accident.
He has previously announced a $100,000 grace payment to cover the cost of a specialised wheelchair for Denishar, although it appears the state’s generosity ends there.
NICRS CEO Adele Cox has claimed her organisation will do everything in its power to ensure Denishar receives justice.
“My team are working to the point of fatigue supporting the family, and other families in dire circumstance, because governments [cannot] meet their basic obligations to their constituents,” she told news.com.au.
Public liability laws exist in Australia to ensure victims like Denishar are compensated for any injuries they suffer due to someone else’s negligence.
In NSW, personal injury damages are paid under the Civil Liability Act 2002 and cover medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, home modifications and a range of other financial and non-economic costs.
If you have sustained serious injuries that you believe were caused by an individual or organisation’s recklessness, please contact the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.