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Judge to decide what is matter of fact

Klein v SBD Services Pty Ltd [2013] QSC 134McMeekin J
30 May 2013

Background

The plaintiff claimed that he suffered from intense pain in his lumbar spine when required to assist in placing a heavy metal object, believed to be a block pin which weighed in excess of 180 kilograms or a shearer stop or a rack bar by pulling upon the heavy metal object with a stretch band in order to move it. The plaintiff was seeking $1.9M in damages.

Liability

The plaintiff alleged that he was assisting in a pan line construction. He alleged the task of pulling the block pin was as directed and previously adopted and demonstrated by his supervisor “without incident”. The incident could not be confirmed, nor the witness, or the piece of equipment that was being moved. Despite these concerns and various inconsistencies with injury symptoms, the Court accepted the claimant in terms of his evidence. There were three possible scenarios, the claimant was not accepted at all, he was partially accepted or he was accepted in full. It appears that this judgment demonstrates that he was only partially accepted in his evidence.

Judgment

Judgment was delivered for the Plaintiff in the sum of $289,502.13 which incorporates a reduction of 25% for contributory negligence.

Discussion

This case demonstrates the importance of record keeping and accurate reporting of injuries. If documentation is lacking, it will ultimately fall to the Judge to decide on a matter of fact.