Negligence Claim – Old man suffers fall on deficient staircase – settled case for $700K

The facts:

Our client was a 68-year-old man, who suffered a severe fracture to his left hip as a result of the fall on the stairs. Vincent lived in a block of flats for a period of approximately 10 years before the accident.

On the day of the accident he was taking out the rubbish, when he lost his balance and fell on the staircase within the building where he resided. He was hospitalised and required a hip replacement. Vincent had a hip replacement of the same hip some 10 years prior to the fall, however, for the whole period before the accident the hip was stable and he was both mobile and active. As a result of the fall the earlier hip replacement was dislodged, which resulted in the need for further surgery and hospitalisation. Vincent was never as mobile, independent as active as he was before the injury. He required assistance with household tasks and generally became largely dependent on members of his family.

Our strategy:

Firstly, we engaged an expert in engineering/ergonomics/safety to inspected the staircase. Our lawyers attended the scene of the injury and discussed the case with the expert, who found the staircase to be deficient. It did not comply with the relevant rules and regulations in that there was no handrail and the steps were somewhat uneven. Our expert then prepared a comprehensive report dealing with the state of the staircase.

Proceedings were then commenced in the District Court of NSW.

The result:

The matter was settled approximately 10 months after proceedings were commenced. Two meetings with the representatives of the insurance company were required in order to settle the case due to the complexity of the case itself and also because our client’s condition continued to deteriorate as the case progressed. The claim settled for $700,000 plus legal costs and our client was very happy with the result.

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