Injured? Want Compensation? You need to prove this crucial link…

To prove your injury was caused by negligence, a strong link between the injury and the occupiers negligence is needed.

McAllister v Brisbane City Council [2017] QDC 94 is a recent Queensland District Court decision relating to compensation following an incident at the Forest Lake Parklands. The plaintiff in this case failed to prove that her injuries sustained was as a result of the Park’s negligence that caused her injuries and in doing failed to prove a breach of duty.

The incident

On 17 September 2012 Mrs McAllister (“the plaintiff”) and her three-year-old daughter attended the Forest Lake Parklands (“the Park”), when her daughter lost control of her bike and began travelling towards a lake. Whilst the plaintiff ran after her daughter, the plaintiff claims her right foot became wedged and trapped between a wooden post protruding from the ground and the edge of the concrete path. As a result, the plaintiff claim’s the forward momentum caused injury to her right leg. The plaintiff suffered a spinal injury as a result.

What was the legal question?

Whether the plaintiff could prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the wooden post in the occupier’s vicinity played a role in causing injuries sustained.[1]

Decision of the District Court

The Court held the plaintiff could not prove that the wooden post played a role in causing her injuries sustained, and based on evidence provided; it was more probable that the plaintiff sustained the injury when she fell left-foot into the lake.[2]

Inconsistencies in the plaintiff accounts provided it difficult for her to prove the causal link between the wooden post and her injuries and therefore a breach of duty of care. On various accounts the plaintiff alleged her foot became entrapped by a wooden post, on another the plaintiff alleged the injuries were sustained as a result of tripping over the post, and on further account, the plaintiff gave evidence that her foot fell into the lake which caused her injuries.

The varying accounts from health professional’s shows different views on how the injury was sustained as described to them by the plaintiff.

The Court demonstrated the significant role that evidence plays and how the plaintiff’s evidence possessed unsatisfactory features to prove that the injury occasioned in the manner alleged.[3]

Lessons Learnt

The decision highlights the importance of establishing a strong causal link between the occupier’s negligence and the injuries sustained by the applicant, and how inconsistencies on the plaintiff’s accounts made it difficult to prove whether there was a breach of duty.

For more information regarding occupier liability, please contact our Business Development Team or call us on (07) 3252 0011 to book an appointment with one of our specialist No Win No Fee Brisbane Lawyers today.

[1] McAllister v Brisbane City Council [2017] QDC 94 at [27].

[2] Ibid at [65].

[3] Ibid at [67].

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