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Worker's fall did not cause consequential symptoms

Beardmore v Crown Equipment P/L [2012] QDC
Reid DJC
3 October 2012

This is a case where the court found there was a fall at work, there was negligence but the fall did not cause consequential symptoms. The claim was dismissed.

Background

The plaintiff slipped on an oily patch when walking through the workshop from his office to another on 6 December 2008.

In this trial, liability and quantum were both in dispute. The main issues for consideration were whether a fall in fact occurred and, if it did, the extent to which it may have accelerated the plaintiff's need for a total hip replacement.

Judgment

It was established that the plaintiff fell and he probably slipped on oil, grease or some other substance. The judge noted it would have been incumbent on the defendant, as the plaintiff's employer, to take reasonable care to avoid exposing employees to unreasonable risk of injury. The employer should have taken reasonable steps to allow safe means of passage through the workshop.

Whilst the judge established that the plaintiff fell on 9 December 2009 as a result of negligence of the defendant, he did not find that he suffered any consequential symptoms as a result of that fall or that the fall accelerated the need for any hip replacement.

The judge concluded that if the plaintiff's condition was significantly aggravated by the fall then it was likely he would have complained of symptoms soon after the fall and sought medical assessment rather than waiting two months to report to his general practitioner. It was also found that the history provided to the plaintiff's independent medical examiner was inaccurate and contrary to the other medical evidence and the plaintiff was not a witness of credit generally.

The claim was dismissed.