Public Authorities Claims Case Studies
YOUNG GIRL STRUCK BY TRAIN
Our client, who was only 14 years old at the time, sustained a devastating and life-changing brain injury when she was struck by a train in a Sydney suburb, shortly after midnight.
CCTV footage obtained as part of her case showed that our client who was vulnerable, alone and intoxicated at the time, had accessed a closed train station after it had not been cordoned off to the public. The footage revealed that after entering the station she spent a substantial amount of time resting on a bench on the platform before eventually climbing down onto the train tracks.
Our client then commenced walking along the tracks, away from the station and in the direction of her home. A short time later, she was hit by a Tangarra train that was being driven as a ‘test train’ through this station. Sadly, the train that hit her did not have its headlights, nor its ditch lights, illuminated at the time it came trough the station and before it hit her.
We took on the case against Railcorp, because of our client’s appalling injuries even though we knew it was a terribly difficult case for us to win.
After six years of litigation and preparation, the claim was settled on a heavily compromised basis.
PATIENT SPINAL INJURY IN HOSPITAL FALL
Our client, KB was at home and stumbled and fell to the ground. An ambulance was called and she was taken to her nearest hospital where she was treated. Whilst in hospital and after making a number of attempts to inform staff that she needed to go to the toilet she received no assistance and proceeded to do it on her own.
She successfully went to the bathroom, and when he got back to her bed she tried to get back into her bed, but unknown to her the locking mechanisms on the wheels on the bed were not activated and as she attempted to get on to the bed the bed rolled away from her and she fell to the ground heavily.
As a consequence of her fall she suffered severe injuries resulting in long term damage including impaired bladder control and other urological issues as a result of spinal injury.
She commenced proceedings against the hospital for failing to properly supervise her and not ensuring that the locking mechanism was activated on her bed.
Whilst initially liability was denied, eventually the defendant admitted liability after expert evidence was produced which concluded they clearly failed to supervise and also that the locking mechanism undoubtedly was not activated. She successfully reached a settlement following mediation.
PATIENT KILLED IN HOSPITAL
Our client in this claim was aged ten when his father was tragically killed whilst hospitalised in a psychiatric clinic for a depressive disorder. The Claimant’s father was attacked by another patient, with whom he was obliged to share a room. This patient was known to be violent, and the Claimant’s father died as a result of the injuries he suffered in the attack. Our client suffered psychological shock as a result of the death of his father, and was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood as part of a pathological grief reaction.
To add to the complexity of the claim our client went on to develop Crohn’s disease shortly after the death of his father. Although it is not definitively possible to link the onset of Crohn’s disease with psychological shock, both the Claimant and his mother were of the opinion that the two were connected and medical evidence was adduced that this was likely. In any event it could be claimed that the Claimant’s psychological condition left him ill equipped to cope with the onset of the Crohn’s disease We were able to successfully settle the claim during negotiations with the Insurance company covering the local health service responsible for the psychiatric clinic where the claimant’s father was housed at the time of the attack on his person.
Compensation was agreed for both general damages and economic loss and care. The Claimant was of age at the time of the settlement.
SUICIDE JUMPER LANDS ON CLIENT
45 year old woman suffered serious personal injuries at Westfield Shopping Complex at Chatswood when a lady, attempting to commit suicide, threw herself over a 6th floor balcony and landed on our client. As a consequence our client suffered serious personal injuries, including brain damage. A claim was successfully made against a government department for having allowed the lady who tried to commit suicide to walk out of a mental institution, despite the fact that she was on suicide watch.