$350k for nurse who stumbled at work
A NURSE who broke her hip after she tripped at work has been awarded more than $350,000 in damages after she filed a claim against a struggling church-run aged care operator.
Ulrike Pearce, 57, was working at a PresCare aged care facility in Maryborough when she "stumbled on a rise on a corridor floor" and fractured her left hip on August 2, 2015.
Mrs Pearce had undergone three hip replacements in the years before her workplace injury but recovered well and was "walking and performing her normal duties" before her fall, a Brisbane court was told.
The injury left her unable to work for six months and she can now only walk 15 minutes before needing to rest.
Mrs Pearce sued PresCare, owned by the Presbyterian Church of Queensland, for $567,012.
PresCare is considering the "possible sale and transfer" of its five nursing homes in Queensland after reporting a $12.6 million loss last year.
At a trial in the Brisbane District Court, PresCare admitted liability for Mrs Pearce's injury but argued the damages bill should be much less because the injury was temporary.
PresCare's lawyers asked Judge Nathan Jarro to take into account her pre-existing health issues and the fact that Mrs Pearce had gone through other unrelated health issues and personal tragedies after the fall which would have affected her earning ability.
Mrs Pearce had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gone through a cancer scare and had a melanoma removed.
She had also lost her husband suddenly in 2018.
Judge Jarro ordered PresCare to pay Mrs Peace $354, 072.
"Mrs Pearce's damages ought to be discounted to take into account a probability that at some point, she would have had to cease performing her duties due to the pre-existing orthopaedic conditions," Judge Jarro said in his judgment.
He said Mrs Pearce had been a credible and resilient witness.
"My overall impression of her was that she was a truthful witness and … a lady who has displayed considerable stoicism through tragic and unfortunate events in her life," Judge Jarro said.
Costs will be determined at a later date.