Should I Seek Compensation from Sydney Trains?

Yesterday my mum boarded a train and she slipped as soon as she got on because the floor was pretty wet.

She fell, fractured her femur bone pretty badly, laid on the floor until the next station when 2 men had to carry her out as she couldnt move. They're gonna have to operate on her. She's in agony now and they'll have to put permanent pins inside her leg as part of the surgery.

Is this something I can take Sydney Trains to court for compensation? Appreciate any advice I can get.

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Comments

  • +12 votes
    • Do you have evidence it happened?
    • Did you file an incident report at the station she got off?
    • Did the carriage your mum was travelling on have CCTV?
    • Does she have the contacts of people she can call on for witnessing?
    • +27 votes

      I think evidence is quite easy to obtain. There's station and in train CCTV.

      However, the train being wet isn't necessarily the liability of the operator. Rain is a natural phenomenon and water pools up everywhere. Where she fell may be incidental. Also, people spill things, it would be unreasonable to expect a janitor patrolling the carriages with instant reflex.

      • +1 vote

        wasn't implying whether she will be able to get compensation or not or whether the stations or trains had a duty of care to prevent such an accident..

        more along the lines of… it might have been one of those old trains no CCTV, didn't report the incident when it happened, and as for the people that help, they didn't ask for contacts. so no way of proving it happened.
        and again I'm just speculating only the OP knows the answer to these. and if the answers are NO… then not much of a case you will have to seek anything and only thing you can do is seek help from a compensation lawyer like others have mentioned.

        edit: looks like the OP didn't report it on the day it happened..

        • +1 vote

          I understand you were pointing out correct procedure and due diligence. I was just expanding on that to include some consideration.

          • +23 votes

            @tshow: We can thank the legal fraternity for destroying good ol' personal responsibility and dramatically increasing insurance costs. These costs then filter down to everyone.

            • +5 votes

              @Scrooge McDuck: I kind of agree about personal responsibility - for example stupid men jumping off cliffs into shallow pools and breaking their necks suing councils for not putting up signs.That’s stupid. On the other hand if you leave a slippery surface in an area passed over by thousands of people, an accident is going to happen. If the train company knew about the slippery surface and took no action, then to me they bear some responsibility for the outcome.

              • +2 votes

                @AddNinja: How bout if the slippery surface is known to the train company but it is not any more slippery than conditions found in many other common areas?

                What if the train company has already taken action by placing friction strips and relative to many other places, it is less slippery, but because of the greater number of people, the improbable became the inevitable?

              • -5 votes

                @AddNinja: I'm not sure if you released, but it was raining in Sydney yesterday.. Do you think Sydney trains intentionally pours water all over their trains to make people slip?

              • +1 vote

                @AddNinja:

                On the other hand if you leave a slippery surface in an area passed over by thousands of people, an accident is going to happen.

                Not really. An accident is going to happen only because statistically in a thousand people you will have some who are careless and don't look where they're going. That doesn't mean it's no longer those few careless persons' fault when they do invariably slip and fall.

                •  

                  @HighAndDry: Sure - I understand your position. Despite that, “reasonable care” for the majority of people means something quite different than it does to you. You’d have to admit, you’d be near an extreme on this issue.

                  But I’m sympathetic to your cause - I’d like to see “dangerous” playgrounds (like I had) for my kids and I wouldn’t mind signing a waiver for them to play in them.

                  •  

                    @AddNinja: Yeah you're right that calling me a 'personal responsibility extremist' would probably be accurate. But I don't think "reasonable care" means anything different. I'd say most if not all people here have managed to use public transport on rainy days without slipping or falling, because they take that minimal amount of care I expect.

                    Still - I dislike the fact that people's opinions are so distorted by their 'emotional distance' from issues. In all cases.

                    I really want everyone to consider this: if instead of this case, someone tripped on your front step when it was raining and fell, and your front step is reasonably (not perfectly maintained), how would you react to that person looking to sue you for even a small amount like $50,000? You don't have insurance (because again, money is still money no matter where it comes from).

                    I'd think that that's crazy. Now in this case, because the party paying out might be a big company or have insurance, if your response is different, why does that actually affect the actual incident and where the responsibilities should lie in this case?

                    •  

                      @HighAndDry: What if my business was to charge people for entrance to my property…

                      •  

                        @AddNinja: So if a location doesn't have any fee associated with it's proximity, the cause of the fall would be wet floors but if there is a fee, the cause of the fall is negligence?

                        What?

                        • -1 vote

                          @tshow: Yeah - people will often expect higher levels of safety if they are paying for a service. So if I were to walk into your house as a mate, I’d accept some risk. But if I paid to enter your house as part of an amusement park, I’d expect, and you’d be required by law, to have higher safety standards.

                          •  

                            @AddNinja: Not expectationn. Cause. Did the cause change?

                            • -1 vote

                              @tshow: Nope, no change in cause. But in a change in context, expectations and legal requirements.

                              •  

                                @AddNinja: There we go. We established common ground that cause doesn't change.

                                When someone accidentally falls, the cause is either natural or negligence. If the cause is rain and not negligence, there is no further reason to pursue context, expectations and legal requirements.

                                Context, expectation and legal requirements does not change the fact that it rains.

                          •  

                            @AddNinja: I'm pretty sure that's not a relevant factor at all. For obvious reasons (which I think you'd agree with), standard of care for providing a reasonably safe environment doesn't turn on if someone paid or not.

                            It might go to things like how safe something is expected to be, for example if your house is next to the ocean with a cliff that people are jumping off of into the ocean - charging for it might imply that it's safe, as opposed to an obviously dumb and dangerous thing to do.

              • -2 votes

                @AddNinja: And in the future there will be two train employees at every door ( that we will pay with the ticket price increase ) who are going to wipe dry every wet umbrella, rain coat, and shoes, so that nobody will fall when entering the train. My train trip will then take 1 1/2 hours instead of 20 minutes, when it rains.</sarcasm>

                • -1 vote

                  @cameldownunder: No need for your sarcasm. Like you I advocate for reasonable safety standards - and so like you I don't think increasing a train trip by 70 minutes because of wet floors would be reasonable. I haven't even said I think the trains are unsafe. I have no idea.

                • +1 vote

                  @cameldownunder:

                  My train trip will then take 1 1/2 hours instead of 20 minutes, when it rains.

                  To be fair, Sydney Trains is so allergic to water that this happens almost every time it rains anyway…….

            •  

              @Scrooge McDuck: Its not been too bad imo. Have a read of Day v Woolworths or Strong v Woolworths and you'll see.

      • +4 votes

        Yeah. A train is basically outdoors. OP may as well try and sue council for slipping on wet grass when it's raining outside.

      • +1 vote

        With all due respect, you don't know the circumstances of the incident.

        It being wet could easily be seen as negligence.

        Sydney Trains have a Duty of Care to the public and also, what you might see as common sense, courts and insurers might see differently.
        There are so many factors to consider.

        I'd say she's pretty hurt and I would definitely email Sydney Trains and notify them of the incident so they can note it and at least pay for medical bills.

        No need to go to an ambulance chaser just yet.

        • +3 votes

          With all due respect, you don't know the circumstances of the incident.

          Neither does OP and by the sounds of it, neither does the train operator. We're all equally in the dark so the scenario is hypothetical.

          I'd say she's pretty hurt and I would definitely email Sydney Trains and notify them of the incident so they can note it and at least pay for medical bills.

          The degree of her injury is unknown and irrelevant. Liability is not determined by severity.

          •  

            @tshow: I agree with you completely.

            I never inferred that severity implied liability.

            Liability will need to be determined first, obviously, but we can all guess how these government claims go and in the end there may be proportionate liability determined to mitigate the settlement.

            We are all in the dark here, yes.

            This forum has been an interesting read.

            Even some of the points I disagree with and well made points.

  • +22 votes

    I suggest you visit your local friendly Personal Injury Lawyer.

  •  

    Have you asked Sydney Train?

  • +7 votes

    Sorry to hear your mum got injured, but you should really ask a Solicitor.

    • +64 votes

      The issue will be whether Sydney Trains discharged their duty of care by placing 'wet floor' signs on the platforms

      It was raining outside…. Have we really come to the point that we need a sign to tell people the ground is wet when its raining?

        • +10 votes

          No but rain means the ground is wet, which MIGHT mean its slippery. Its not rocket science.

          So when it rains now, we'll have a billion signs pop up everywhere, creating a tripping hazard….. wonderful!

        • +13 votes

          You seriously want them to put up signs IN A TRAIN (because that's where the slip happened - learn to read) that already has limited space, and would itself be a tripping hazard?

          To tell people that "Oh, it's raining outside, and so the floor might be wet, and wet surfaces might be slippery"?

          You're what's wrong with this world. And I don't say that lightly.

          • -4 votes

            @HighAndDry: You've obviously been left high and dry too many times, and this is why you say silly things like this as opposed to answering OP's query.

            • +6 votes

              @bargainhunter87: Oh but I have.

              Should I Seek Compensation from Sydney Trains?

              No.


              Longer answer? No, and why the hell do you think that when you have an accident due to your own carelessness, that you deserve money from someone else?

              I have a lot of sympathy for OP's mum and the pain she's in now. I have zero sympathy for the mindset of: "How can I use this to get money from people?"

            • +1 vote

              @bargainhunter87: I'd say mainly high and less dry. Way to take it to the extreme. Cautious people fall too and signs don't eliminate duty of care. They mitigate it at best.
              Where did the OP say they wanted money? I think if they are going to be out of pocket for medical expenses that are not covered by Medicare, they should be helped.

          • +2 votes

            @HighAndDry:

            [signs to] tell people that "Oh, it's raining outside, and so the floor might be wet, and wet surfaces might be slippery"?

            The better course of action might be to use a floor that is not slippery when wet.

            • -1 vote

              @abb: Oh good, that should be easy then. Let me know when you manage to get around the laws of physics because, you know, water is a lubricant like most liquids are.

              • +4 votes

                @HighAndDry:

                water is a lubricant like most liquids are.

                Only if it is applied as a film. If we get enough water on the trains, the water will in itself will instead create friction, ie. Can't slip inside a swimming pool.

              •  

                @HighAndDry: yawn
                Surface roughness is a thing. I think it's actually a major factor in the 'laws' of friction.
                Low-grit sandpaper type stuff is often used on stair edges because it isn't slippery no matter how much water you put on it.
                You can do even better if you provide drainage channels - my car tyres manage to grip the road in the rain because they have grooves, but then again maybe my tyres are exploiting a loophole in your laws of physics.

                If the train floor is not compliant with AS 4663/4586 then I think there's a strong case to be made that someone has failed in their duty of care.

                •  

                  @abb:

                  Low-grit sandpaper type stuff is often used on stair edges

                  Yeah. And a reason why they don't make the whole stairs out of the stuff.

                  my car tyres manage to grip the road in the rain because they have grooves, but then again maybe my tyres are exploiting a loophole in your laws of physics.

                  Unless your car tyres grip the road exactly as well in the rain as they do normally…. I'd say they're more slippery, are they not?

      •  

        I still think its Sydney rail issue, they should put up signs on each station,
        Caution: Train may delayed, or Cancelled or Slippery during the raining conditions.

        • +6 votes

          Might as well just have signs up everywhere saying: "Caution: Life is dangerous."

          Do we get to sue the government when we slide out driving in rainy conditions because they don't have signs saying "Roads are slippery when wet" too?

          • +1 vote

            @HighAndDry: I thought, Caution: Life is short :)

          •  

            @HighAndDry: I think you're confused as to who has duty of care and when.

            •  

              @imurgod: OP's mum slipped on slippery surface, thinks government is responsible.

              I slide out on slippery (road) surface… government not responsible?

              •  

                @HighAndDry: Correct.

                You're over simplifying it, but still..

                •  

                  @imurgod: But you see how stupid that is right?

                  •  

                    @HighAndDry: I absolutely see your point, but I think some people will need the help and I'm ok with them receiving it.
                    I don't agree with the BS payouts you sometimes see (although that's more Workers Comp) and I can't stand Ambulance Chasers.

                    The system isn't perfect, but I think it's needed. If it was someone who lost their livelihood over an accident, what are they to do?

                    •  

                      @imurgod:

                      I think some people will need the help and I'm ok with them receiving it.

                      I disagree this is the right approach. Just because they might need the help doesn't necessarily mean they deserve it or are entitled to it. By all means help them yourself - but don't drag in third parties who may well be fault-less to impose some kind of ad-hoc welfare system.

                      If it was someone who lost their livelihood over an accident, what are they to do?

                      They should've bought insurance before. Would you rather they point to the nearest bystander wearing a suit, hope they have money, and sue them? That's effectively what you're advocating, except you feel less emotional objection here, because instead of an individual, it's a faceless corporation with insurance. But whether or not it's an individual or a company, with or without insurance, the underlying ethical considerations are the same, and the money still has to come from somewhere.

                      Hell, you want a better alternative? Instead of using the emotional component of the incident to strong-arm a settlement, use that to get money off poor schmucks generous nice folks on GoFundMe. At least those people would be giving the money willingly.

                      •  

                        @HighAndDry: I think it's treading dangerous ground and I think what that will certainly lead to, is big companies like large supermarkets and so on, not having to take their duty of care seriously.

                        Everybody in this country is entitled to seek recourse and behind it all, are insurance companies who foot the bill and, in turn, collect premiums.

                        You're advocating for a system that is unjust and unfair and will actually end up with everyone suing everyone like they do in the USA.

                        The system works and those who take advantage can and do get caught and the penalties are pretty heavy.

                        In this instance, you don't know that they are faultless and I'm comfortable with letting a judge decide or insurer make a commercial decision. It's simply not up to you or I (which is a good thing).

                        • +1 vote

                          @imurgod:

                          You're advocating for a system that is unjust and unfair and will actually end up with everyone suing everyone like they do in the USA.

                          No… that's what you're advocating for. There is a duty of care element, it just doesn't apply here where someone slipped on ground, effectively outside, that was slippery due to being wet from the rain.

                          The system works and those who take advantage can and do get caught and the penalties are pretty heavy.

                          The system works because people don't take advantage of it like they do in the US. Encouraging OP to make frivolous claims like this one is what would break the system, because it tells companies it doesn't matter that they take reasonable precautions, people are going to sue anyway.

                          There aren't any penalties for making a frivolous claim, because most of even those are settled with a small payment. The frivolous litigate gets money, doesn't have to pay legal fees, and walks away feeling like they've won.

                          •  

                            @HighAndDry: As I say, we don't know the particulars of the incident, so we don't know if there is any negligence.

                            What if there was unrepaired damage to the floor, for example?

                            If they merely slipped on wet floor due to rain, then no negligence would be found one would assume, and thus no payment awarded.

                            "The system works because people don't take advantage of it like they do in the US. Encouraging OP to make frivolous claims like this one is what would break the system, because it tells companies it doesn't matter that they take reasonable precautions, people are going to sue anyway."

                            I'm not encouraging any such thing. You're assuming it's a frivolous claim, which it may not be.
                            Also, it's in a company's interest to take reasonable precautions as it mitigates their liability. These things are far from black and white. Just because you sue, doesn't mean you are automatically going to be awarded 100% if anything at all.

                            "There aren't any penalties for making a frivolous claim, because most of even those are settled with a small payment. The frivolous litigate gets money, doesn't have to pay legal fees, and walks away feeling like they've won."

                            Sadly, this is pretty accurate. I do know that some larger frauds have been punished, but our legal system is nothing if not soft.

          •  

            @HighAndDry: The government get to impound your vehicle under hoon legislation

      •  

        Wet and slippery ! Don't forget the slippery part.

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