Negligence claims need consistent facts

Downes v Affinity Health Pty Ltd [2016] QCA 129 is a recent Queensland Court of Appeal decision relating to compensation following a workplace injury. The applicant in this case failed to prove that it was her employer’s negligence that caused her injuries.

On 25 July 2007 at around 2:30am, the applicant said that she had aggravated her pre-existing spinal condition in the course of intercepting the patient and lifting her back into bed. At trial it was held that the applicant had failed to establish how she was injured and therefore was also unable to prove that the hospital breached its duty of care or that such a breach had caused her to aggravate her spinal condition.

The applicant appealed contending that the primary judge made the following errors:

  • Not finding that the Hospital was in breach of duty for failing to provide a bed with full length cot rails.
  • Not finding a casual link between the Hospital’s breach of duty and her injuries.

The Court held that the Hospital had breached its duty by failing to provide beds with full length cot rails. However this breach had not caused the applicant’s injury.  The decision highlights that proving a connection between an employer’s negligence and an applicant’s sustained injuries is made especially difficult when there are differing accounts of the facts. It is a reminder that inconsistencies in the account of events can sometimes lead to a harsh determination.

For more information on the topic please read the article – No Win No Fee Brisbane Lawyers- Workplace Injury Compensation.

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