A woman has won a public liability claim against a Kempsey shopping centre. After slipping and fracturing her ankle while using a travelator in the mall owned by Pacific Coast Shopping Centres (PCSC) Ltd., she was able to prove negligence in the operators design of the travelator and failure to warn users of the dangers of potential slip hazards.
While PCSC Ltd. claimed that the woman had full knowledge and accepted the risks of using the travelator in wet conditions, the woman's economic and non-economic loss was proven to be substantial as a result of the effects of the her injury.
Did Pacific Coast Shopping Centres Ltd. have duty of care?
Covered under the NSW Civil Liability Act (2002), PCSC Ltd. had a duty of care to ensure that any users of their mall facilities are protected from foreseeable risks of injury. As PCSC Ltd. were aware of the risks of having the travelator operational during wet weather, they had a duty of care to ensure that mall users were explicitly aware of the risks of using it, or taking measures to ensure no one used it.
Why did the woman claim civil liability negligence?
While the woman was aware of the risks of using the travelator in wet weather, prior cases of injury (a man had been injured in similar circumstances roughly one year prior) had proven that mall users believed the risks were navigable. While PCSC Ltd. were aware of this prior case of injury, no attempt had been made to address the issue, either through installing non-slip mats, putting up warning signs or simply decommissioning the travelator in wet weather. Ultimately, they failed to guarantee the safety of their mall users as per their public duty of care.
What was the outcome?
The judge decided that not only had PCSC Ltd. failed in their duty of care to the woman, prior instances of injury demonstrated a willful negligence to take simple measures to mitigate against slip hazards. Ultimately, the judge ordered over $264,000 to be paid as compensation to the woman for her past and ongoing costs, economic and otherwise, as well as ordering PCSC Ltd. to cover her legal fees.
Successfully winning a claim for civil liability compensation is built on a strong case, conviction in your rights within NSW legislation and quality legal representation. For a free consultation about your potential civil liability case, contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today.