Trips, Slips and Falls Case Studies

SHOULDER INJURY CAUSED BY EXCESSIVE WATER ON FLOOR

WM was involved in an accident at his local club where he slipped on an excessive spillage of water on the floor in the men’s room.  As a result, he sustained severe injuries to his right shoulder which resulted in surgery which only partially repaired the injury.

He is married with children, and the injuries he sustained had a significant impact on his day‑to‑day activities and employment.

The insurance company of the local club denied liability on the basis that they had a safe system of cleaning and it was not unusual to find water on the floor in a men’s room.

We were successful in obtaining evidence that the water on the floor was in excess of water you would usually expect to find in a men’s room and as a result at an informal settlement conference with the lawyers for the insurance company of the local club the parties were able to reach an out of court settlement of the claim.


TRIP TO MCDONALDS TURNS INTO A DISASTER

JR was at his local McDonalds for breakfast in March 2012 when he went to the men’s room.  To his surprise as entered the men’s room he encountered significant water on the floor, and whilst he did his best to walk through the water and avoid slipping he unfortunately did slip, and fell, sustaining very serious injuries to his neck.  Shortly after his fall he walked out of the men’s room and sought the manager to notify the manager of his fall.

As he was walking out, a cleaner walked in to the men’s room with a bucket and mop and a sign warning patrons to be careful of the wet floor.

Unfortunately the cleaner was a little late.

McDonalds denied liability, asserting that signage was there prior to his fall, but it was eventually established from recovered CCTV footage that the cleaner had in fact gone in to the men’s room after our client’s fall, and not before.

After protracted negotiations including a settlement conference with the lawyers for McDonalds, the matter was resolved and a substantial amount was received on behalf of JR.


SEVERE INFECTION CAUSES COMPLICATIONS

Our client, BT, injured her knee and ankle in what initially seemed like an innocuous accident caused by an uncovered storm water drain. Whilst our client laughed the fall off at first, within a month she developed a severe infection which required surgical cleaning in hospital, and within 3 months she had to quit her job because of her ongoing knee pain.

Our client stayed positive and ultimately decided to pursue a career change so that she could work in an environment which is easier on her knee and ankle. However, she can no longer enjoy an active lifestyle, and getting dressed up in high-heeled shoes is out of the question.

The insurance company vigorously defended our client’s claim and never looked like paying our client a single cent. Ultimately, our persistence paid off, and we negotiated a good settlement of our client’s claim which provides her with some financial security as she prepares to launch herself into a new career.


TRUCK DRIVER INJURES ANKLE STEPPING INTO POTHOLE

Our client, MC, was a self-employed long distance truck driver. MC was making a late night delivery to the Defendant’s premises and had to step out of his cab to weigh his load. The lighting over the weighbridge was not working, making the area pitch black. As MC stepped down from his cab, his ankle rolled in a pothole on the dirt road, causing him to suffer a serious ankle injury.

As a result of the ankle injury, MC was unable to work as a truck driver for several weeks. After he returned to work he never regained the same level of duties, as using the clutch on his 18 gear truck aggravated his ankle pain.

A claim was brought against the company responsible for the premises, alleging unsafe lighting, an unsafe road surface, and an unsafe method of operations. Liability was denied but we obtained an expert report from a health and safety expert who confirmed that MC’s accident could have been prevented by safer practices. We also obtained a witness statement from another truck driver who confirmed poor practices at the Defendant’s site. Our witness also confirmed better methods at other sites, including the use of UHF radios which avoided the need for drivers to exit their cabs.

The Court ordered that the parties attend a settlement conference before the matter went to hearing. Although liability had been strenuously denied, we secured a significant lump sum of compensation for MC at the settlement conference. MC subsequently had the financial security to pay for any future surgery and the assurance that he had money to fall back on if he needed time off work in the future.


LIFE CHANGING INJURIES SUFFERED IN SUPERMARKET FALL

Our client, NR followed her usual routine and attended her local Woolworths Supermarket to do her weekly grocery shopping.

While walking down the cosmetics and shampoos aisle she suddenly slipped and her left foot went from under her causing her to lose her balance and fall to the left.  She landed awkwardly on her left hand side of her body, and as a result felt immediate pain in her left shoulder, left arm, and buttocks.  She had slipped on clear liquid which was spilt on the floor. Woolworths denied liability.

As a result of her injuries she has ongoing and significant problems with her left shoulder which causes difficulty with dressing and undressing, hanging out clothes, grocery shopping. She has difficulty lifting and bending and problems with her neck and back. Her injuries have had a significant impact on her day‑to‑day life.

At the initial informal settlement conference the matter did not settle, but after protracted settlement negotiations at Woolworths her case settled and she was delighted with the result.


RAINWATER IN SHOPPING CENTRE INJURES ELDERLY CLIENT

Our elderly client visited his local shopping centre on a rainy day. After entering the shopping centre, he used the travelator to get to the lower floor, when he suddenly slipped and fell. It transpired that the surface of the travelator was wet from rainwater, seemingly brought in by another customer’s shoes or umbrella.

Our client sustained multiple injuries including cuts and scarring to his hands and head, and orthopaedic injuries to his right arm, right leg and back. Given our client’s age, his injuries had a profound effect on his independence. He was also badly shaken and lost his confidence in going out alone after the accident.

Our expert public liability compensation lawyers put both the shopping centre and the mall’s cleaning company on notice of our client’s compensation claim. Liability was strongly denied by both defendants, and the shopping centre instructed lawyers to deal with the shopping centre accident on their behalf.

Undeterred, our compensation specialists obtained evidence establishing that both the shopping centre and their cleaners had been negligent. Our personal injury solicitors demonstrated that the cleaners had not deployed suitable wet weather measures in the rainy conditions, and that the shopping centre had not taken the requisite level of care when subcontracting cleaning services to the cleaning company.

The evidence that we obtained convinced both defendants of the strengths of our client’s claim. We were subsequently able to secure our client a compensation settlement without the need to commence court proceedings.

Our client’s claim shows not only the intricacies of shopping centre accident claims, and also the excellent results that can be achieved through perseverance by our specialist public liability lawyers.


PEDESTRIAN TRIPS

Our client was walking through the Pitt Street Mall when she tripped on a covering on a cable, left in situ by workers employed by the Sydney City Council.

Our client suffered a nasty orthopaedic injury from which she made a slow recovery.

Whilst liability was denied by the Sydney City Council the claim was settled for a significant sum at a settlement conference without court proceedings having to be commenced.


FALL IN CLUB

Our client tripped on a microphone cord at a golf club and landed heavily on his shoulder resulting in a significant fracture to his shoulder joint. Our client underwent surgery and made a reasonable recovery. For many months he was unable to attend to the usual work he did on his rural property, and required assistance. Unfortunately our client was involved in a subsequent accident where he injured his other shoulder.

The claim against the club was initially hard fought and the insurer, through its lawyers, aborted several settlement conferences.

However finally, as a hearing date in the District Court approached, the insurer started negotiating on a bona fide basis and the claim was settled for a significant sum.


SHOPPING TRIP ENDS IN DISASTER

Gwen, a 92-year-old lady, tripped and fell from a hole in the tiles of a shopping mall. This resulted in her sustaining an injury. The defendant denied liability and the matter proceeded to a hearing in the District Court of NSW for five days. The client was successful and received a substantial sum for damages.


NASTY SLIP

Jennifer was shopping one Saturday morning when she slipped on a big spill on the floor. Another customer had knocked over a bottle and then had informed a staff member at a nearby register. The staff member finished serving a customer and then called for the cleaners, but in the meantime Jennifer walked past and fell. She suffered whiplash injury to her neck and suffered dizziness and nausea. We resolved the claim by negotiation at a meeting with the lawyer for the retailer.


GROCERY SHOPPING ENDS WITH INJURIES

Bryce was injured whilst attending to his grocery shopping when he slipped on a puddle of water sustaining quite minor injuries to his knee, hip and back. Bryce’s case settled just 3 weeks after commencing proceedings in the District Court against the supermarket.


DISCARDED TROLLEY

Rebecca tripped and fell on an unattended trolley at her local Bunnings store. She sustained an injury to her right shoulder and an aggravation of a previous back injury. She was successful in negotiating a settlement of her claim.


DANCING DISASTER

Jason was enjoying time with his friends at a Sydney nightclub when he tripped over a glass on the dance floor rupturing his Achilles tendon. The nightclub had no adequate system of clearing glasses. The nightclub defended the proceedings but eventually the matter was settled before hearing. Jason will now use his settlement monies for a deposit on a property with his fiancée.


TRIP CASE SETTLES OUT OF COURT

Mrs Renshaw, an elderly woman, suffered injury when she was walking along a footpath with her walking frame. She tripped and fell on a broken pit that hadn’t been repaired despite complaints to the relevant government bodies to do so. Mrs Renshaw suffered severe injuries which greatly reduced her quality of life. Mrs Renshaw’s case was settled before court proceedings had to be commenced and she’ll now receive the treatment and home support she needs.


CHRISTMAS RUINED

Josie was doing her Christmas shopping with her teenage son in a large shopping centre in Sydney on a very wet and rainy day, when she slipped on a pool of water on the floor and sustained an injury to her knee. She suffered ongoing problems with her knee that made it difficult for her to do all her normal household and gardening chores. Josie lives in a large house on an acreage and normally did all the household and gardening chores around the house. We brought a claim on Josie’s behalf against the shopping centre management company and the cleaners of the centre. The claim was settled successfully without having to go to court.


DENTAL DISASTER

Abbey was visiting a motel in Broken Hill when she tripped over a bollard in the dark, landing on her face and breaking a number of teeth. She had extensive dental treatment. A claim was made against the motel based on the negligent placement of the bollard and the lack of lighting. The motel’s insurer was prepared to talk and the claim was settled, without litigation, for the dental expenses plus pain and suffering and costs. It was a very sensible and reasonable outcome.


SLIP IN THE WET

We acted for a lady who was injured when she tripped in the rain on steps leading out of a popular hotel. The hotel had placed non-slip grip on parts of the stairs, but the grip was coming away in a number of places. The stairs, without the strips, were extremely slippery and unsafe. Our client suffered injuries that prevented her from running her B&B business and enjoying activities she loved prior to her injury, such as skiing. Liability was denied by the hotel, but the case was resolved successfully at the hearing.