LHD News

LHD Lawyers obtain over $1.3 million win for Queensland client

By LHD Lawyers

A Queensland worker who sustained serious injuries after falling 10 metres onto a concrete slab has been awarded over $1.3 million in damages after winning his case in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on 1 August 2023.

When the accident occurred, Steven Speziali was employed by Nortask to carry out repair works on a 14.5 metre silo on a site owned by Dalby Bio-refinery Limited (DBRL). On 15 June 2017 Mr Speziali lost his footing while climbing down from the silo (known as The Cyclone), causing him to fall and injure himself. As QLS Proctor reports, he suffered a “48 per cent loss of whole person function” as a consequence of the incident.

Our client Mr Speziali was awarded the compensation payout he deserved after successfully suing Nortask and DBRL for damages.

How did the incident occur?

QLS Proctor reports that on the day of the incident, Mr Speziali was working on the top platform of a structure that was accessible by a series of ladders. He wore a harness while he was on the platform, as was the safety requirement, but did not wear a harness while on the ladders, as it was not required. The ladders were made of smooth, galvanised steel which had no slip-resistant coating, and the conditions were wet, which made the ladders “extremely slippery”.

The accident happened when Mr Speziali was descending the top ladder attached to The Cyclone. As the Courier Mail reports, Mr Speziali was found to have been following industry standards of maintaining three points of contact as he descended the ladder.

In the Supreme Court decision, this account of the incident was published by Justice Melanie Hindman:

“As Mr Speziali was approximately a third of the way down the top ladder, he placed a foot on a rung (he was unable to recall which foot), suddenly his foot slipped, causing him to lose balance and tumble downward, hitting various parts of the ladder and tower before eventually landing on the concrete below.

Mr Speziali recalled flashes of hitting the inside of the top ladder cage, his back hitting the mid-platform guardrail, his legs then hitting the conveyor tower, before landing on the concrete.

The next thing he recalled was waking up winded with people around him.”

Justice Hindman further stated that the structure’s access system didn’t comply with Australian safety standards, and that the risk of injury was not insignificant. “Identification and rectification of the non-compliant gap between the top ladder steel cage and the mid platform guardrails were the responsibility of DBRL as occupier of the premises,” she said.

What injuries did the client obtain?

The assessment of damages published by Queensland Judgements states that Mr Speziali suffered a 48% loss of whole person function. As a consequence of his accident, he continues to have difficulties and care requirements.

Justice Hindman’s statement is as follows:

“Mr Speziali says he continues to suffer considerable ongoing pain, and therefore requires help from his wife and daughter for domestic duties as he is physically restricted. He and his wife gave comprehensive evidence as to the personal and household related tasks he carried out prior to the accident, and what of those tasks are now required to be carried out by his wife and daughter.

The affected tasks include personal care, meal preparation, laundry, home and garden maintenance, gardening, mowing, pool maintenance, car cleaning, driving and grocery shopping.”

Who was liable for this type of workers compensation claim?

QLS Proctor reports that Justice Hindman’s found no contributory negligence on the part of Mr Speziali:

“Compliance with the relevant AS (Australian Standards) would not have permitted Mr Speziali to fall to the ground. The non-compliance might be considered small, but it was critical and not merely trivial. It was sufficient to constitute a lack of reasonable care by DBRL.”

According to the Courier Mail, Justice Hindman ordered judgement for the plaintiff against Nortask in the sum of $899,254 and against Dalby Bio-Refinery Limited for $1,507,132.

The $899,254 damages were apportioned at 25 per cent to Nortask and 75 per cent to DBRL.

Make a Workers Compensation claim today

If you think you have a workers compensation claim similar to the one above, LHD Lawyers can help everyday Australians receive the benefits they’re entitled to. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

LHD Lawyers | Feature Callout

Check if you’re eligible or get free claim advice now

or call us on  1800 455 725