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News / Claire Hammond v Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland M172/12 /  

Claire Hammond v Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland M172/12

20 September 2013

Claire Hammond v Cerebral Palsy of Queensland M172/12

On 11 September 2013, Magistrate Jennifer Batts of the Caboolture Magistrates Court dismissed Ms Hammond's claim as she failed in her burden of proof to make a causal link between the event of 28 January 2011 and her claimed injuries pursuant to sections 305D (Causation) and 305E (Onus of proof) of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

Mullins Lawyers acted on behalf of WorkCover, the insurer of Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland, in successfully defending the claim.

The trial proceeded on the issues of causation and quantum.

Background

On 28 January 2011, Ms Hammond alleged she sustained an injury to her thoracic spine as a result of attempting to transfer a resident from a chair to her bed using a hydraulic hoist lifter. She was attempting to slide the sling under an obese resident. She was 61 years of age at the time.

Causation

Her Honour preferred opinion of Dr Morgan, orthopaedic surgeon, over those of Dr Steadman, orthopaedic surgeon and Dr Todman, neurologist.
Dr Morgan's report was the only report to accurately detail Ms Hammond's independent health condition, that being rheumatoid arthritis ("RA") (Ms Hammond's RA condition was diagnosed some eight months after the work related incident).

Dr Steadman's examination preceded Ms Hammond's diagnosis of RA and thus his omission was explicable.

Dr Todman's primary report was authored three months after Ms Hammond's diagnosis of RA. Her Honour considered it was inexplicable that such a serious and debilitating medical condition could be omitted. Further, Her Honour commented on Dr Todman's refusal to answer hypothetical questions put to him (by WorkCover's counsel) despite being told they concerned evidence given by Ms Hammond. Her Honour submitted the refusal "was partisan".

Her Honour believed the majority of Dr Morgan's opinion was well supported both in terms of its foundations and conclusions.

Quantum

As Ms Hammond's claim was dismissed, there was no entitlement to damages. Her Honour, however, assessed damages at $719.50, clear of the WorkCover refund of $19,843.99.

For more information please contact:

Sharon McKay | Solicitor
Mullins Lawyers
t +61 7 3224 0378
f +61 7 3224 0333
smckay@mullinslaw.com.au

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