Court awards back injury man $123k

ALAN Edward Luck has been awarded more than $123,000 after injuring his already damaged back lifting a 90 kilogram manhole cover at work.

Justice Duncan McMeekin ruled in the Supreme Court at Rockhampton that Civil Mining and Construction Pty Ltd pay Mr Luck, 50, after he suffered a spinal injury when he turned and twisted to place a manhole cover to the side during a workplace incident in 2005.

Mr Luck had previously injured his back in April 1989 when a tree fell on him, causing a loss of 15% of the normal functional capacity of the whole person.

Doctors agreed that Mr Luck suffered a further 2% whole-of-person loss in the workplace incident.

He still suffers after the accident with tingling of the fingers and legs and difficulties with walking, sitting too long, lifting and bending.

Mr Luck had worked with the company for about 10 weeks before sustaining the further injury to his spine.

The legal representative for the company made a strong attack on his credibility.

He said he had been deliberately untrue in his completion of certain forms lodged with his employers, in his dealings with the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink, as well as having a prior criminal history.

Justice McMeekin said it was clear Mr Luck had attempted to conceal from his prospective employer the fact of his significant back injury from the fallen tree.

He said he had a significant pre-existing condition of the spine, which rendered him unsuitable for heavy manual labouring.

About three months prior to the workplace accident, Mr Luck had been on a disability support pension.

In determining the amount of damages to be paid, Justice McMeekin essentially accepted the defence submission on key areas. These included the awarding of $35,000 for future economic loss, which was well below the submission of Mr Luck’s legal representative who asked for $255,000.

The judgment was handed down last month.



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