Over the weekend of 6/7 February 2016 you may have seen the media story which had been shared on social media about a young woman who suffered a knee injury at a wedding venue in Queensland. According to the article, the bride sought compensation from the venue after slipping over in a puddle.
The article indicated that the plaintiff sought compensation in the amount of $270,000.00, representing loss of income and payment for the fact that the plaintiff now required a cleaner to assist her to clean her house. Presumably, this amount also included compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering (called general damages in Queensland).
Intrigued, I looked at the comments that had been left by Facebook users, and was somewhat surprised by what I saw.
The great majority of the comments had a negative and occasionally abusive sentiment towards the injured bride. Notable comments included:
- Advice directed to the bride’s husband, suggesting that he urgently obtain a divorce;
- Derogatory comments towards the injured bride, indicating that she was ‘only after money’;
- Sympathetic comments towards the wedding venue on the basis that ‘it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone’;
- Comments bemoaning the amount of money being sought by the ‘greedy’ plaintiff.
Like my fellow Facebook users, I know nothing more about the circumstances of the accident or the claim itself, beyond that which was reported in the article. It is clear that, amongst the general public there is an unfortunate stigma towards people who make claims for compensation. However, as a lawyer who solely practises bringing compensation claims for people injured in accidents, such as public liability accidents not dissimilar to the one reported in the article, I have a different (and perhaps, more informed) perspective on this issue.
I have seen for myself the devastating impact that seemingly innocuous accidents such as this can have on injured people and their families. Injured people are often required to take extended periods of time away from work after an accident for their medical treatment and recovery. This can place their ongoing employment in jeopardy and lead to significant financial hardship for themselves and their families.
Additionally, injured people often have great difficulty with completing basic domestic tasks such as cooking and cleaning, due to their injuries. Friends and family members often have to spend additional time ‘picking up the slack’ for the injured person, or these tasks are neglected entirely and the standard of cleanliness simply falls away.
Aside from the physical limitations caused by injuries, there is often a psychological and/or emotional component to accidents. Injured people often experience depression and a loss of hope for the future. This often places a strain on personal relationships, and in the most tragic cases leads to the breaking down of previously healthy family relationships.
It is important to understand that, whilst the $270,000.00 apparently being sought by the injured plaintiff in this case may seem like a substantial amount of money, compensation claims are more about the future than they are the past. According to the article, the bride was only 26 years of age, and depending on the extent of her injuries she may be affected for the rest of her life.
The reality is that accidents can happen at any time, and to any person. If you have been injured as a result of somebody else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation to get your life back on track. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about.
If you have been injured in an accident and don’t know where to turn, please do not hesitate to contact us on 1800 25 1800 or contact us online for free no obligation advice about your circumstances. We would be pleased to assist you to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Written by Brett Watts.
Brett Watts is a Solicitor in Tom Goudkamp and Ruth Hudson’s Practice Group. Brett represents people who have been injured in a variety of accidents including motor vehicle claims and public liability claims.