Judge v RH Grey & Son Pty Ltd & Ors [2012] QDC 33

Published 19 Jan 2016

The Plaintiff in this matter is Mr Judge, having been working for the Defendant employer, RH Grey and Son at the time of accident. The date of accident was 1 May 2009, and the Plaintiff was 23 years old at the time.

The Defendant owns a cotton farm at Mugindi in Queensland. The Plaintiff is a plumber by trade, however, at the time of injury, the Plaintiff was assisting in the operation of a cotton compactor when he suffered a severe crush injury to his right foot. This resulted in the amputation of his second, third, fourth and fifth toes of the right foot.

Negligence

The Defendant in these proceedings had admitted liability and the key point to be determined revolved around the Plaintiff’s future earning capacity.

Judge Dorney presided over the matter and considered the views put forward by the Defendant’s expert, Dr Macintosh, and the Plaintiff’s expert, Dr Morgan. The Judge also put great consideration into the way the Plaintiff presented himself in the witness box, considering him to be an honest witness, not prone to exaggeration.

Dr Macintosh was of the view that the Plaintiff would be able to return to full work as a plumber without any restriction.

Dr Morgan was of the view that the Plaintiff was rendered less competent in the workplace due to his injuries, and that he may find employability within his trade is dimished, resulting in economic loss. Furthermore, Dr Morgan canvassed the opinion that he believe the Plaintiff would struggle to complete the same level of overtime work as his peers.

Ultimately, His Honour made the following observations:

  1. The Plaintiff is like to reach a stage where he will be forced to decline any overtime work.
  2. The Plaintiff is likely to stay in the area of plumbing.
  3. The Plaintiff is a competent plumber.
  4. The Plaintiff will continue to undertake plumbing work of the lighter kind, but that lighter work may not always be readily available to him.

For these reasons His Honour found that there would need to be award made for future economic loss.

A decision was made in favour of the Plaintiff.

Award for Damages

The Plaintiff was awarded $566,752.19 in damages. Of most importance are the following heads of damages:

  1. Past Economic Loss

The Plaintiff was awarded over $76,000.00 for his lost income from the date of injury until the date the decision was handed down. In making this award the Judge considered the payments already received from the Workers Compensation Insurer.

  1. Future Economic Loss

The Plaintiff was awarded $367,500.00 for his loss of future income and future opportunity.

  1. General Damages

The Plaintiff was awarded $70,000.00 for the pain and suffering this injury had caused to his enjoyment of life.

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