The walkway next to the town hall where Janelle Bartley allegedly fell and broke her arm due to a “depression” in the ground. She is now suing for almost $400,000.
The walkway next to the town hall where Janelle Bartley allegedly fell and broke her arm due to a “depression” in the ground. She is now suing for almost $400,000.

Bartley's in-law to sue council

THE sister-in-law of a prominent councillor is suing the Southern Downs Regional Council for nearly $400,000 in a personal injury claim lodged with the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Janelle Bartley, whose husband Scott is the brother of Councillor Ross Bartley, lodged her six-figure claim with the courts on July 16 following a fall near the Warwick Town Hall early last year in which she broke her arm.

The Daily News can also reveal the claim is one of five current personal injury actions faced by the council arising from accidents within the last two years.

Public court documents filed by Shine Lawyers on behalf of Mrs Bartley allege the council was negligent in not repairing a “depression” in the walkway between the town hall and Suncorp, which caused her to stumble just after 5pm on February 2, 2009.

It is claimed the depression was three centimetres deep, 20cm long and two centimetres wide, and that Mrs Bartley, who was aged 46 at the time, “fell to the ground on her outstretched right arm”, sustaining multiple fractures to her humerus or upper arm.

Her $398,551.62 claim for damages includes amounts for past and future economic loss, compensation for care by her husband and past and ongoing medical expenses.

She also intends to claim court costs.

If successful, the action could not come at a worse time for the council, which last month brought down a new budget with a rates rise of just under 10 per cent in the face of what it claims are decreasing state subsidies and exploding costs from amalgamation.

Mrs Bartley could not be contacted for comment, and both her husband Scott and brother-in-law Cr Ross Bartley declined to comment on the matter, as did the Southern Downs Regional Council.

Shine Lawyers claim the council resurfaced the bitumen walkway next to the town hall in or around August 2008, but that it “was not, or not adequately, inspected” by council officers afterwards.

“As a consequence of the incident the plaintiff sustained a comminuted fracture of the right humerus”, with her injuries and “consequential loss and damage ... caused by the negligence of the defendant and its servants or agents”.

The claim states Mrs Bartley was caused pain and suffering, along with a “reduction in the enjoyment and amenities of life” as well as losing earnings and “earning capacity”.

It also states she will require ongoing therapeutic treatment and care and has a reduced ability to work with operating a keyboard for extended periods.

The Daily News has asked the council for details of the four other personal injury claims it currently faces and other public liability claims since amalgamation, with a response likely today.

Janelle Bartley’s claim

  • General damages – $24,400
  • Past economic loss – $8554.75
  • Interest on past economic loss – $621.09
  • Past superannuation – $769.91
  • Future economic loss – $120,000
  • Future superannuation – $10,800
  • Past care provided by husband – $43,251.25
  • Interest on past care provided by husband – $2355.12
  • Future care by husband – $159,120
  • Past special damages (medical, travel, out of pocket expenses) – $3852.89
  • Interest on past special damages – $279.73
  • Medicare Australia refund – $1604.75
  • Manchester Unity refund – $9702.13
  • Future special damages – $13,240
  • TOTAL – $398,551.62


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