$1.5m restored to boy who fell off train
THE High Court has restored $1.5 million in compensation to a boy who suffered permanent brain injuries when he fell from the door of a passenger train travelling at almost 100km/h.
Corey Fuller-Lyons, who was eight years old at the time of the accident in 2001, was travelling from Sydney to Newcastle with his brothers, Nathan, 15, and Dominic, 11.
Two minutes after the train left Morisset station and as the train rounded a bend, Corey fell, sliding 20m down an embankment. Despite severe injuries, he staggered across the railway tracks, climbed a fence and waved down a motorist.
Corey had no memory of how he fell and his brothers said they had not seen it happen. Corey’s mother sued the state of NSW, claiming that as the operator of the rail network it was vicariously liable for the negligent failure of staff to keep a proper lookout before signalling for the train to depart.
It was agreed that Corey must have fallen through the doors at the front of the carriage. These doors, operated centrally by the guard, lock once closed and cannot be prised open.
The court concluded the only way an eight-year-old boy could have generated enough force to push against the pneumatic doors was if his torso was between them.
Last year the state successfully appealed against the finding, with the NSW Court of Appeal accepting there were equally probable scenarios to explain the accident that did not involve negligence by rail staff.
The High Court last week restored the original decision, awarding him more than $1.5 million in damages.