$1.5m re­stored to boy who fell off train

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - All copy pro­vided by Turner Free­man lawyers; turn­er­free­mannsw.com.au

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.

GERARDMCMAHON ON Part­ner, Turner Free­man n

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