Man suing council for $750K after slip at Rocky Airport

A Gracemere man has begun legal action against Rockhampton Regional Council and a Rockhampton painting company after claiming he fell over at a pedestrian crossing at Rockhampton Airport in the rain, causing more than $750,000 in personal damages.

According to the statement of claim filed with the Rockhampton Supreme Court the incident occurred on May 7, 2018, at which time it was raining.

Craig Scofield, now 45, claims he was walking from the short-term car park towards the airport terminal.

Mr Scofield allegedly stepped from the covered walkway onto the pedestrian crossing and his right foot slipped on the painted surface.

He allegedly fell and struck his left knee, hearing a loud crack and feeling immediate pain in his left knee.

"Craig's accident has had a significant impact on his life and that of his family and what's disappointing is that it was completely avoidable," Maurice Blackburn Rockhampton's Amy Gomersall, lawyers representing the case, said.

"Had the pedestrian crossing been painted in compliance with the standard by the defendant, the accident would not have occurred. At the time of the incident Craig was travelling to the airport to meet family arriving on a flight and was walking across the pedestrian crossing with his son.

"As a result of his fall, Craig suffered a fracture to his left kneecap.

"He had to undergo a number of surgeries due to his injury and now deals with depression and anxiety on a daily basis."

The painted surface of the pedestrian crossing allegedly created an ever-present hazard for anyone accessing the airport via the crossing when the surface was wet.

"This area should have been properly inspected by the defendant after the maintenance work was undertaken and the issue identified," Ms Gomersall said.

"Hazard signage should then have been used to alert pedestrians to the danger.

"Our client was owed a duty of care by the defendant and has suffered significant physical and psychological injuries from his fall.

"Our client and his family are now having to live with the consequences. Craig's injury means that he suffers pain in his left knee and must take medication on a daily basis to help alleviate this. Craig has lost a great deal of mobility, including the ability to bear weight."

Rockhampton Regional Council is defendants as owners and operators of the airport.

Nikdav Pty Ltd, based in Norman Gardens, is the second defendant of the case as it was contracted by council for its painting services at the airport.

It is claimed it should have known the painted surface would have become slippery when wet and was likely to cause people to slip when wet.

After the accident, Mr Scofield was allegedly let go from his employment as he couldn't fulfil his duties.

It is detailed he secured new employment but is on $9.40 per hour less.

He is claiming $17,155 for past economic loss along with $380,000 for future economic loss.

Other claims include domestic assistance, superannuation, special damages, future treatment and pharmaceutical expenses which equal a total of $757,360.

The originating statement of claim was filed in January at the Supreme Court in Rockhampton.

A notice of intention to defend on behalf of Nikdav Pty Ltd was filed by Sparke Helmore Lawyers on February 6.

This defence document claims some of Mr Scofields allegations are "untrue, unsubstantiated and cannot be admitted" because the painting company was not a line marking painter. It is further claimed the alleged area where Mr Scofield slipped was not slippery and dangerous when wet at all.

Nikdav claim Mr Scofield failed to wear appropriate footwear for the weather condition, failed to keep any proper lookout and failed to take any proper care for his own safety.

They have denied the claim for monies on the basis they are not liable for the incident.

Rockhampton Regional Council filed to defend on February 10 with Barry Nilsson Lawyers representing them.

Council claims it could not believe the claims to be true as the slip resistance measurement of the pedestrian crossing on the day of the accident is not known. It is claimed non-slip roadmarking paint which contains angular aggregates for slip resistance was used.

It is also put forward that there had been no prior incidents on the pedestrian crossing prior to Mr Scofield's.

Council admits an accident took place however the allegations of what happened are solely within the knowledge of Mr Scofield. Council also further alleged Mr Scofield had pre-existing medical conditions including a muscle atrophy and joint condition in his left leg and degeneration in the lumbar back.

It is claimed by council the monies Mr Scofields claims are excessive when this is considered.



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