Woman Sues Over Courtesy Bus Fall

Emmaline Stigwood | April 27th, 2010 | Gold Coast Bulletin 27 April 2010 – page 7

A woman is suing for $140,000 in personal injury damages after one of her high heels got caught on the edge of the step of a Gold Coast football club’s courtesy bus.

Fiona Purchase, 53, filed the claim against the Southport Australian Rules Football Club Pty Ltd in the Supreme Court in Brisbane last week.

Ms Purchase, of Brisbane, claims she went to the club via the courtesy bus and arrived about 7pm on August 9, 2008, when she tripped on the raised metal edge of a step and injured her back and left ankle.

“When attempting to disembark from the said bus, the heel of the plaintiff’s shoe caught on the raised edging on a step of the said bus,” the claim states.

The claim also says afterwards the bus driver got a hammer and flattened down the metal piece.

Ms Purchase claims the club owed a duty of care to patrons on the bus, including while getting on and off.

The majority of the claim, $100,000, is for future loss of income.

The claim is one of a growing variety of actions for personal injury lodged this year, with very few ever coming to trial thanks to a system designed to settle disputes out of court.

Not associated with the above claim but speaking generally on the industry, Potts Lawyers litigation lawyer Craig DoRozario said most personal injury cases were now settled in compulsory and confidential conferences.

“What you see in court is the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

“The vast majority of all claims, like 99 per cent, will not ever get to court because they are settled and that is the way the system has been set up.”

Mr DoRozario said negotiations between sides continued even if the first conference failed, usually the settled amount was less than the original claim and the result was confidential.

“A lot of claimants would love to come out and say how much they got or did not get for an injury but it is just not possible,” he said.duty of care, personal injury, loss of income

Mr DoRozario said while case numbers seemed to be steady, people injured were now more likely to seek advice.

“People are much more aware of their rights now,” he said.

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