Woman sues Maccas for $230k after carpark fall
An Ipswich woman who sued McDonald's for $230,000 after she fell over in the fast-food chain's carpark has lost her claim after a judge ruled she had simply "not paid attention to where she was walking".
Susan Belmont, 47, had gone to pick up her daughter from work when she fell heavily over a cement tyre stop and fractured her arm while crossing the McDonald's carpark about 7pm on October 9, 2016.
Ms Belmont filed a claim against McDonald's Australia Ltd for alleged negligence and stated that she believed her fall was caused by inadequate lighting.
In her claim, Ms Belmont alleged that she was unable to work for nine months in her role as a case worker for children in foster care.
She said she suffered ongoing pain in her arm after the incident and later developed a frozen shoulder.
Ms Belmont claimed $35,000 for past economic loss and $125,000 for future economic loss on the basis that if she did lose her job, she would be at a disadvantage in the labour market.
She also sought $17,760 for the injury, $30,000 in special damages, $10,000 for future medical expenses and $3,237 in lost superannuation.
During a trial in the Ipswich District Court, McDonald's disputed Ms Belmont's allegations.
McDonald's claimed she had not taken the marked path to the restaurant and that she was looking in her handbag at the time of the fall - a claim she emphatically denied.
But CCTV footage played at the trial showed Ms Belmont had one hand in her handbag and was looking downwards at her bag at the time she fell.
After reviewing the footage, Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC ruled against Ms Belmont saying she "simply failed to pay attention to where she was stepping and fell".
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC noted that at the time of the fall, the lights in the car park were broken however concluded that the area was adequately lit.
"Even had I concluded that there was inadequate lighting of the relevant area, I would nonetheless have remained of the view that the plaintiff's fall was not caused by such inadequacy," he said.
"I would remain of the view that the plaintiff fell because she did not pay attention to where she was stepping as she stepped from the bollard toward the concourse."
Ms Belmont's claim was dismissed and the court ordered that McDonald's make known its legal costs by February 1 next year.
Originally published as Woman sues Maccas for $230k after carpark fall