Teacher awarded almost $300,000 after tripping at gym
A LISMORE gym has been ordered to pay almost $300,000 in damages to a woman who tripped over an exercise ball and broke her ankle.
Stephanie Lenore Powell was working out at Union St gym Success Martial Arts when she stepped off an exercise machine in March last year.
Unbeknown to her, an unsupervised child had rolled a ball towards her, causing her to fall to the ground.
"Plainly, that child should not have been there," NSW District Court Judge Leonard Levy found.
The 49-year-old had severe fractures to her left heel and ankle.
Ms Powell was working as a casual teacher with Good Start Learning Centres across the North Coast, and had also obtained qualifications as a personal trainer, the court heard.
The injury stopped her from working and forced her to undergo months of painful medical treatment.
Specialist Dr Charles Hew issued a report in August this year, almost a year and a half after the injury, finding Ms Powell would have ongoing disabilities for the rest of her life.
Judge Levy said her ability to walk and stand for long periods had been affected and she still needed medication to deal with the pain.
"She experiences difficulty walking on stairs, inclines, and difficulty maintaining her balance," he said.
"These matters of compromise cause the plaintiff considerable frustration which in turn affects her outlook on life."
He added Ms Powell's disabilities would "have a significantly adverse effect on her ability to gain and maintain full-time employment in many areas, not just restricted to her present work classifications".
The gym's owners, Success Leadership, were ordered to pay $287,905 in damages and to cover Ms Powell's legal fees.