The Victorian Supreme Court in Anthony Roy Scott v Ross Howard Wanklyn  VSC 382 has just said yes. It awarded compensation of $230,000 to a 90-year-old man who suffered personal injury on private property in a trip and fall case.
How did the accident happen?
Mr Scott went to the Defendant’s property to pick up a wooden chair that the Defendant had been repairing for him for 2 months. The chair was being stored in a shed at the back of the property. As Mr Scott was walking across a gravel driveway and towards the shed, his foot went into a trench and he fell. He broke his hip and he is not able to walk without a walking aid ever since.
Why Mr Scott won?
The Court found the Defendant responsible because:
- The trench was not easy to perceive, and Mr Scott was unfamiliar with the property.
- Although the property was being used as a residence, it had a commercial aspect, as the Defendant was using it to carry out his repair business, with a sign out front advertising his business.
- The risk of a fall was high, as the trench was positioned directly and immediately across the entrance to the shed.
- The likely consequences of a fall was significant.
- The Defendant could have easily taken precautions against the risk by erecting a temporary barrier or warning of the existence of the trench.
- Mr Scott’s old age was in his favour, as the Defendant knew that Mr Scott was an elderly, and should have taken precautions against the risk.
- The Defendant raised the fact that Mr Scott had not forewarned he was coming to pick up his chair. The Court simply noted that the Defendant should have anticipated Mr Scott would attend one day to get his chair.
- Finally, the Court accepted Mr Scott’s evidence that he was watching where he was going and so he was in no way responsible for his fall.
How did Mr Scott receive $230,000?
The Court had to award compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is a value amount, based on what other members in our community receive for similar injuries.
- The Defendant suggested $75,000
- Mr Scott’s legal advisers suggested $150,000
- The Court awarded $110,000
The Court also awarded:
- $15,000 for past and future medical care;
- $105,000 for gratuitous care given and to be given to Mr Scott by his family.
We often get asked if it is worthwhile for an elderly person to seek compensation for a personal injury on private property due to a fall accident. We often say yes, as we consider ourselves experts in this area of the law. When it involves an older person, the compensation given to Mr Scott is a reminder that age should not deter anyone from seeking the fair compensation they deserve. Of greater importance, Mr Scott’s claim demonstrates, the compensation available can be generous. For more information on this case or public liability law, please contact Henry Carus + Associates.