In the 2013 District Court Decision of Gilmour v State of Queensland, a young lady was awarded $241,210.19 in damages for injuries she sustained after stepping into a hole on public property.
The Plaintiff, Ms Gilmour, was a 39-year-old school teacher at a public school in the Hervey Bay area. She sustained a fracture to her ankle while crossing a pedestrian crossing within the school grounds. At the time of the incident, she had been supervising a large class of children who were also traversing the crossing.
The key issues were:
- When the hole came to be in the state it was at the time of the incident; and
- What, if any, measures were taken by the State of Queensland to inspect the grounds to detect the defect.
The Plaintiff alleged the State of Queensland had knowledge of the existence of the hole for some time prior to the fall. The State of Queensland submitted to the Court that appropriate inspections were undertaken by it to identify defects on the school grounds.
The Court ultimately found that there was no proper system of inspection in place. It was held that had a proper system of inspection existed, the risk would have been identified and the defect repaired.
What Damages were awarded?
On the conclusions reached by the Court, Ms Gilmour was awarded damages as follows:
Head of Damage
Pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life
Interest on past pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life
Past loss of earning capacity
Interest on 3
Past superannuation loss
Future loss of earning capacity
Past special damages
Interest on special damages
Future special damages
Less WorkCover refund