12 Year old girl rendered Tetraplegia due to Motel Pool Accident.
Case concluded: 22nd February, 2017 Settlement amount: $1 Million+
The plaintiff was a young girl aged 12 years when she, together with her parents, decided to stay in Gympie at the Gympie Motel overnight. They had never previously stayed at the Motel.
The Motel had a swimming pool and was only accessible by a locked gateway. The pool had a sign on it which read “All children must be under adult supervision at all times, in pool area. Keys in office. Hours 6AM – 10PM”.
The pool was available for guests use and the defendant knew and encouraged guests to use the pool.
The pool had no depth markers and there were no signed prohibiting diving around the pool.
The plaintiff dived into the pool, at the shallow, struck her head and was rendered a tetraplegic.
After the accident, the defendant put a no diving sign in the pool area which said “no jumping and no diving”. A depth marker was also put in identifying the shallow end of the pool.
It was noted that the duty of care owed to lawful entrance to an area is to take reasonable care to protect them from risks of physical harm.
An Australian Standard which relates to pools provided that unless specifically designed for diving, private pools should not be used for that purpose because a serious injury can result. The Court took notice that children were regular guests at the Motel and the defendant knew that children guests regularly use the pool for recreational swimming and that the dangers of diving into a swimming pool not designed for diving, was not a risk well known particularly not to children.
The defendant was found 85% liable with the plaintiff being 12 year old and 9 months being 15% liable.
The award of damages was assessed separately but would have been many million of dollars.