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Worker Makes Successful Workplace Product Liability Claim against Chair Importers

Posted: September 13th, 2013

An Australian office worker has made a successful workplace product liability claim for compensation against the company who imported a chair from which she fell and suffered permanent back injuries.  

Terry Anne Downie from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory sustained life-changing back injuries when, while working for the Community Information and Referral Service, she fell from an office chair after two of the five supporting plastic spokes snapped.

Being unable to move, an ambulance was called for Terry Anne and she was taken to hospital where doctors diagnosed that her immobility was due to a disc swelling at the time of her fall and touching a nerve root in her spine.

Because of the nature of her injury, doctors were unable to completely heal her and although she is now mobile, Terry Anne still suffers a permanent tingling beneath the skin of her legs, has suffered with psychological problems which have prevented her from finding a suitable job and has developed sexual dysfunction.

Terry Anne received her entitlement to injury compensation from her employers but, as she believed the accident was due to the chair being at fault, she made a private workplace product liability claim against the company that imported the chair from China – Janton – and their insurers.

Janton and their insurers denied that their product was faulty and responsible for Terry Anne´s injuries; however, at the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, Terry Anne´s solicitors introduced an expert witness who testified that the plastic moulding on the base of the chair had “failed catastrophically” and was directly responsible for Terry Anne´s workplace accident.

Judge Master David Harper found in favour of Terry Anne´s workplace product liability claim for compensation and, in addition to awarding her Au$933,030 in general damages and Au$112,000 in special damages, ordered that Janton´s insurers repay the Community Information and Referral Service for the workplace injury compensation they had paid to terry Anne after her accident.

Categories: Office Worker Injury Solicitor

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