A woman who slipped and fell on wet tiles at a house party has been awarded $371,748 after a successful public liability claim.
People are often unaware they can pursue compensation for accidents at private residences, but occupiers of homes owe a duty of care to prevent visitors from injuring themselves due to foreseeable risks.
Typically, the key questions in these cases are whether or not the defendant breached their duty of care through negligence. And, if so, did the negligent actions cause the injuries for which the plaintiff is claiming?
On the day of the accident, the defendants – a married couple – were hosting a party for approximately 35 people. One of the guests tracked dog excrement from the garden into a poolroom where several visitors were socialising.
The wife cleaned up the mess with a mop but did not dry the area or warn partygoers that the area was still wet. Soon afterwards, the plaintiff danced across the room, slipped on the wet tiles and fell over. She fractured her right shoulder and a rib, with the shoulder injury diagnosed as a permanent disability that has prevented her from pursuing her previous career as a disability support worker.
Both the plaintiff and the defendants called witnesses to support their version of events. The defendants argued the plaintiff was contributorily negligent because she was inebriated and dancing carelessly at the time of the accident.
The plaintiff claimed she was unaware the area was wet, as she had been in another room when the clean-up occurred. She also denied she was drunk, having consumed less than two beers and a couple of vodka jelly shots.
District Court Judge David Russell preferred the evidence of the plaintiff on the balance of probabilities, although he admitted there were difficulties in confirming the facts due to the differences in witness testimonies. He said the defendants were negligent in failing to dry the area appropriately or set up a barrier to prevent people from walking on wet tiles. They also did not warn anyone that the floor was still slippery.
The extent of the plaintiff’s injuries meant she received $49,000 for non-economic losses, which include pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. She was also awarded more than $253,000 for past and future income losses, as well as money to cover out-of-pocket expenses and care costs.
Have you recently slipped and fallen in a private residence or public place? You could be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in compensation, so please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to pursue a claim.