Compensation for patient injured when tripping over bollard at a public Canberra hospital

Published 25 Jul 2016

Author: Nassir Bechara

On or around July 2013, our client was an elderly lady who was a patient and lawful entrant at a public hospital in Canberra to which she was attending to for treatment.

Our client was within the underground carpark of a public hospital when she tripped and fell on a parking bollard causing her to fall to the ground and suffer injury.

It was alleged that the illumination of the carpark was provided by artificial lights and that some of the lights within the carpark were turned off and not functioning and/or defective.

On the floor of the carpark was a parking bollard which had been laid down to the ground in the underground carpark. The bollard was not plainly visibly. The bollard was a hazard to pedestrians within the carpark. The risk to a person who is walking within the carpark of tripping on a bollard which had been laid down on the ground was a risk of harm.

As our client was walking within the premises of the underground carpark, she tripped on the bollard and fell and she was thereby injured.

Prior to our client’s accident another person walking within the carpark had tripped on a bollard which had been laid down on the ground, which event had been reported to the hospital.

It was alleged that the risk of harm was known to the hospital at the time of our clients fall, and that the risk of harm was clearly foreseeable by the hospital at the time. Such risk of harm was not insignificant.

It was alleged that our clients injury was caused by the negligence of the hospital, it servants and/or agents, in failing to take pre-cautions against the risk of harm.

Furthermore, it was alleged that a reasonable person in the hospitals position would have taken precautions against the risk of harm eventuating as it did to our client.

The particulars of negligence and precautions as alleged against the public hospital included the removal of the bollard, raising the bollard to a position perpendicular to the floor, warning our client of the presence of the bollard, inspecting the bollard, illuminating the bollard, having a reasonable system of maintaining the lighting in the carpark, and ensuring that persons engaged to maintain the lighting in the carpark did so regularly and in a competent manner.

Our client had received earlier advice that she did not have a case worth pursuing, until she sought advice from our firm. It was our view that our client would succeed on the liability matters having regard to the circumstances of her accident.

Our client had pre-existing medical conditions which she alleged had been aggravated by the fall at a public hospital in Canberra. It was alleged that her condition results by way of either cause or material aggravation from the fall suffered by her on or around July 2013.

We followed the appropriate requirements and procedures under the ACT Legislation. A personal injury claim notification required by the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act. This claim form was served on the ACT Government solicitor. Once the personal injury claim form was lodged, the ACT Government Solicitor was required to provide in response copies of all information, documents and particulars with respect to our clients accident. Once that documentation was received, it was clear that our client would succeed on the liability matters.

The medical issues were in dispute however we arranged for our client to be medically examined and assessed and served that report on the ACT Government Solicitor to address the material aggravation of our client’s injuries as a result of the accident.

The ACT Government Solicitor appreciated the risks in terms of the liability and medical issues dispute the medical evidence, and without any admission of liability on their part, they participated in negotiating an out of Court settlement of our clients claim in which our client was awarded damages in full and final settlement of her claim.

Considering the liability and medical issues in the matter, our client was able to negotiate a satisfactory settlement to resolve the totality of her claim.


If you have suffered an injury as a result of a trip and fall either on public or private premises in Canberra or anywhere else, you may be entitled to damages as a result of the negligence of the other party in failing to take precautions against a risk of harm that they knew or ought to have known in the circumstances which has resulted in your injury as has been the situation with our client in this claim.

Despite receiving legal advice to the contrary and the risks in terms of liability and medical issues, our client contacted our firm and were able to prosecute her claim and resolve the claim on the basis that she would receive an award for damages for her injuries, losses and damage.