Woman sues Qld KFC for $3.8m after fall
AN UNEMPLOYED Bundaberg woman who twisted her ankle in the carpark of her local KFC is suing the fast food giant for more than $3.8 million in damages, a court has heard.
Toni Marie Hawke, 53, of Bundaberg, claims she twisted her right ankle when she "stepped onto uneven concrete" as she walked towards the store on Bourbong Street at 6.50pm on July 26, 2013.
Her lawyers have filed documents in the Supreme Court in Brisbane seeking a compulsory conference with lawyers for KFC owner Collins Foods Limited and their insurer Marsh.
Collins Foods is based in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange with a market capitalisation of $766 million. There are more than 640 KFC outlets nationwide.
Hawke claims she fell when walking between cars lined up at the drive-though, as she walked from her car to the store.
The former Solahart administration assistant claims that Collins Foods caused her fall by failing to turn on the lighting along the driveway, near the drive-through area, and failing to fix "raise edges" of concrete slabs.
She also alleges that Collins Foods should have directed customers to enter the store from the other side of the carpark and erect signs warning customers of the uneven path.
Hawke states in her notice of claim that she is currently unemployed, "wheelchair bound" and "unsure when she will be able to look for further employment" since she had surgery to fuse her ankle on June 30, 2014.
"She is undergoing further surgery on 27 October 2014 to remove the plates and screws which were inserted during the first operation," her claim states.
In a letter dated February 24 2015, insurer Marsh denied liability for the incident and personal injury.
She claims she has "had difficulty walking", has "no sensation in her ankle" and been unable to drive since the fall.
"She had difficulty performing any household tasks such as cooking and cleaning and has required significant assistance from her husband," her claim states.
Hawke states, in her claim, that she has a pre-existing psychiatric injury "as a result of bullying in the workplace" and in 2015 was receiving payments from WorkCover Queensland.
She is claiming economic loss of $28,546, and a total of "more than $3.8 million" in compensation, according to court documents.
She was working at Solahart at the time of the fall but stopped work when her employment was "terminated" in January 2014, court documents state.
On November 26 a Supreme Court registrar ordered the case to proceed to a compulsory conference by February 28.