Through expert negotiation, Risksmart reduced a $310,000 claim to a $40,000 settlement, saving our Client $270,000.
- Risksmart recently acted for a client in a claim when a customer tripped and fell in the client’s carpark The claimant suffered bilateral shoulder tears requiring surgical repair as well as soft tissue damage to her neck.
- The claimant appointed legal representation shortly after the incident and, when the claimant’s condition stabilised, they put forward a significant claim in the sum of almost $500,000 inclusive. They served extensive evidence in support of their claim including reports by an expert safety consultant, orthopedic surgeon and occupational therapist.
- The claimant’s solicitor also served a draft Statement of Claim and threatened to commence legal proceedings.
- The claimant alleged that our client failed to ensure that the wheel stops were clearly identifiable to customers and ought to have been surfaced in a different colour to the carpark. They also alleged that the carpark failed to adhere to Australian Standards.
- The wheel stops were the same colours as the surrounding bitumen and contrary to the requirements under the Australian Standard. Risksmart also considered that the position of the wheel stops were an issue as they were situated down the middle of the carpark, forcing customers to traverse over them to enter the store.
- This ultimately created a foreseeable risk of harm that our client ought to have addressed as a competent property owner. Based on our investigations, Risksmart concluded that a Court would likely find in favour of the claimant particularly when considering the Australian Standard.
- Risksmart considered the possibility of delegating liability onto the construction company responsible for building the carpark, however our Client was unable to supply documents from the time of the carpark’s construction.
- the claimant suffered ongoing restriction to her right shoulder and required significant rehabilitation following the surgeries.
- medical evidence confirmed that as a result of the incident the claimant:
- had restricted range of movement to her right shoulder and neck.
- required extensive future treatment, including physiotherapy and hydrotherapy
- required at least 11-16 hours of domestic assistance per week following her surgeries and still required assistance in the future for at least 7.5 hours per week
- owed approximately $35,000 to her private health care provider and Medicare
- in comparison to the claimant’s solicitors claim for damages, Risksmart assessed quantum per the table to the right.
The Successful Outcome:
Risksmart recommended that our client attempt to commercially resolve the claim for up to $40,000 inclusive to ensure that the statement of claim was not filed alleviating the costs of defense lawyers.
- Risksmart commenced negotiations with the claimant’s solicitor arguing that the claimant failed to keep a proper lookout for the wheel stops and that they posed an obvious risk to her, noting she was a regular customer at our client’s business. Various arguments were put forward by Risksmart to reduce the claimant’s expectations.
- After negotiating with the claimant’s solicitor for almost 6 months, Risksmart resolved the claim for $40,000 inclusive, representing less than 10% of the claimant’s solicitors opening offer of $450,000 inclusive. The Client did not incur any defense costs by way of legal fees or medico-legal disbursements.