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Elderly man takes action against Ipswich Council after footpath fall


An elderly couple had their last days together ruined after John Petersen broke his ankle outside of the Ipswich Hospital last year.

Patricia Petersen, 73, and John Petersen, 77, had been childhood sweethearts since she was 13 and he was 15.

Mrs Petersen had been seriously ill in hospital when her husband fell on a dangerous council footpath outside the emergency entrance.

During his wife’s last days Mr Peterson was wheeled in to see her but his injuries only made her more distressed. Mrs Peterson passed away within days of the fall and Mr Peterson had to delay his surgery to attend her funeral.

Mr Peterson is bringing a claim against the Ipswich City Council for personal injury damages to prevent this from happening to other people. Shine Lawyers General Manager James Hickman said an investigation into the Council’s Right to Information file on the footpath revealed they were aware of the dangers since as early as 2009.

“There were several reports of serious falls, injuries and tripping hazards, but they failed to remove the dangers,” Mr Hickman said.

The claim alleges the footpath was riddled with exposed tree roots and was slippery to walk on due to the type of paving material chosen by Council. The walkway issues were further exacerbated due to excessive animal droppings and poor visibility. Large trees placed around the hospital entrance obscured the streetlights making the walk extremely hard to navigate and especially at night when our client fell victim.

“This is not a playground, but a major thoroughfare near the hospital entrance.’’

Mr Hickman said the Ipswich Council had been served with a notice of claim but had denied any wrongdoing with regards to Mr Petersen’s case.

If you have been injured in a fall, you may be eligible to make a claim. Get in touch with our team of legal experts for more information on your legal rights.

Written by Shine Lawyers on March 11, 2016. Last modified: September 26, 2018.

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