In late 2009 I was living in an ACT Government housing property, on this particular day I had a washing machine delivered, the delivery driver moved my old washing machine outside and I stayed in the laundry to sweep the area underneath where it had lived for a number of years. I was done sweeping and moved directly over where the machine had been when the floor gave way and one leg fell through, I could feel the dirt under my foot, my other leg remained on floor level so I’d sort of done the splits. The delivery driver helped me out of the hole. At that time my only injuries were a few scratches down my leg and a massive case of kill me now embarrassment.
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A few weeks later I started getting back pain so went to my GP, I was sent for a cat scan and it was revealed that I had two bulging discs in my lower spine. In the mean time the housing contractors had assessed the hole and determined that it was more than likely white ants, they covered the hole with a plank of wood and said the whole floor would probably need to be replaced. The board remained there for my rental duration (around six months) with no further action. I was prescribed pain relief and told that if pain persisted I may require surgery. After six months the pain finally went away and I was able to live relatively normal except for occasional back pain until recently when I’ve had a painful sciatic ‘flare up’, I’m back on pain medication and have been referred to a neurosurgeon to discuss possible surgery. When it first happened I looked into legal advice in regards to my injury and the right to compensation but it didn’t go any further than an online enquiry.
At the time I was a Mum of two boys and because of the pain I don’t feel like I was in any shape to think clearly when it came to my legal rights let alone day-to-day living. With this latest flare up though I’m left rethinking my rights and if I’m entitled to try for compensation or if because it happened so many years ago now I have forfeited my right to sue. I can imagine the fight I’d have trying for compensation against the ACT Government but I’ve been genuinely injured through no fault of my own and as an ongoing problem it could be something I have to live with for the rest of my life. My housing manager was advised of my health issues as a result of a rotting floor and all he said was to seek legal advice. There would be maintenance records and a letter to my housing manager stating the issue, medical records from 2009 and also now and I could possibly track down the delivery driver that witnessed my fall and also assisted me on the day but at this point I think time is of the essence.
So If there’s anyone that can offer some advice, that would be great.