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NSW Personal Injury - Bed Bound Because Accident in Public High School

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by Olivia Thomson, 21 October 2015.

  1. Olivia Thomson

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    Three years ago, when I was a year 12 student, I slipped down a set of stairs at a public high school. I suffered shoulder pain and back pain at the time, which have since progressed through increasing nerve tearing and weakness. I am currently completely bed bound, and have difficulty meeting my living and healthcare costs.

    The problem with the school was that the stairs were a set of slippery, metal, spiral staircase. The width of the steps were quite narrow, so I accidentally stepped on the edge of the step rather than the tread. I slipped down 3-4 rapidly and caught my left arm on the bannister, which forced it upwards/backwards and tore nerves in my shoulder/brachial plexus. This tearing spread throughout my body through aggravating activities that I was obligated to engage in, for instance walking and using my hands.

    I was unable to access an adequate medical assessment until the last two months. I used to be engaged with a compensation law firm. They dropped my case after an assessment of my limited medical evidence in July 2015. I am having trouble finding new solicitors, in spite of new medical evidence emerging. I met the limitation date for filing the case with the District Court, however I've had to seek an extension for serving the Defendant with the Statement of Claim as I currently have no legal representative. I haven't been told when the new due date is.

    I started seeing my current GP and neurologist in September. The GP suggested a muscoskeletal condition based on blood tests/cortisol levels; nerve tearing/post-brachial plexus injury neuropathy based on my reported symptoms; and nerve inflammation based on his physical examinations. The neurologist suggested nerve sensitivity + complex regional pain syndrome, based on physical examinations. The neurologist commented that the legal case may be difficult as my diagnosis is based on doctors’ examinations and reports rather than objective radiology evidence. This may be resolved after further pathology investigations and MRI comparisons.

    The GP has explicitly stated that there is a link between my current debilitating condition and the personal injury that occurred at the time of the accident. He backed this up with pathology evidence. The neurologist has not yet made an explicit statement but believes I have a serious neurological condition. The neurologist may make a similar statement to the GP after seeing pathology reports and previous MRI scans. It's hard to get in touch with my doctors and processing pathology results also takes time. I can't immediately provide to lawyers all medical evidence that could possibly become available.

    My problem now are these
    a) It's difficult for me to find personal injury lawyers who will bother to engage with my case so late in the process. They don't like the urgency of having to meet a deadline for serving the Defendant asap.
    b) Some new law firms are not satisfied with the school's liability, in spite of what my previous firm said.
    c) I am still in the process of being diagnosed. The issue is trying to extend court due dates to allow this to happen, and to find a lawyer who will wait for this evidence to emerge, rather than outright rejecting my case.
    d) My doctors, myself, and my previous solicitors are concerned about the medicolegal assessments and the potential effects on me.

    As I am bed bound and in a delicate state, I can't allow doctors to force me to try to sit up, and I can't allow really rough physical tests forcing range of movement. I've been told that the Defendant's medicolegal lawyers could be severely physically and psychologically abusive, in terms of forcing the plaintiff to undergo exacerbating and unnecessary tests, and telling them that their condition isn't real. I would like to find out from a lawyer if this is definitely the case, if it's worth it taking into account the chances of success, and if that sort of abuse can be avoided at all. The problem is I haven't found a lawyer that's willing to advise me.

    I'm currently stuck in a really stressful limbo. All I want is to get ongoing legal advice from a lawyer based on my medical evidence as they emerge, and information on the medicolegal process. However it's so hard to find a law firm who will bother taking on my case, much less give me a straight answer on these issues. If anyone can suggest a law firm, or provide comments with regards to any of my current issues, that would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Olivia,

    You ideally need a law firm who can attend a directions hearing for you and request an extension from the court to provide the statement of claim due to change in legal representation and awaiting further medical evidence that is needed in order to submit the statement of claim.

    See Get Connected with the Right Lawyer for You
    to be connected to a local lawyer who hopefully would be able to help you with your matter.

    I am sure you know the difficulties in proving your claim of public liability - the fact that you need to prove that they had a duty of care to you, that they breached that duty of care, that breach caused damage and that damage was caused by the breach. If you are unable to prove all of these elements then it is very hard to gain compensation.
     
  3. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Would the school's insurance cover this accident regardless as to fault?
     
  4. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt they would Rod. They would deny liability - as all insurance companies are informed to do this (or they would be up for lots and lots of dollars in compensation)
     

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