The plaintiff, Ms Caruana, brought claims against the Ski Riders Hotel Motel after she sustained injuries as a result of falling on a step between the bathroom and bedroom of her motel room.
The Ski Rider Hotel Motel is located at 10 Kosciusko Road, Wilson’s Valley in New South Wales in the Snowy Mountains region.
The plaintiff was on a ski holiday with her partner and was planning to stay several nights. Ms Caruana alleged in negligence that the defendant had actual knowledge of the step and failed to warn any patron staying in the room where the accident took place.
Ms Caruana relied upon the expert liability report of Engineer, Mr Cockbain. However, this report was largely dismissed by the court, finding the recommendations in the report to be unreasonable. The defendant had not reported any similar incidents at the motel.
Judgement was found in favour of the defendant, noting that the risk of harm was obvious, and that the reasonable person would have avoided such an accident. At 65 the Judge states:
“Taking into account the photographs of the bathroom which demonstrate a significantly raised bathroom sink which would have been within a person’s line of sight as she slid open the bathroom door, and which was a cue to the step, I am satisfied that the risk would have been clearly apparent when the door was open, and therefore obvious to a notional reasonable middle-aged woman in the position of plaintiff.”
It is worth noting that if the decision were found in favour of the plaintiff, the judge accepted a 25% reduction for contributory negligence would have been applied, and the awarded damages would have amounted to $28,858.85.
The decision of Caruana v Ski Riders Motel (Kosciuszko) Pty Ltd, trading as Ski Rider Hotel Motel NSWDC 182, can be read in full here: https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5cdd09fbe4b02a5a800c0dd8
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