RGS employee suing school for $740k for workplace injury

A Rockhampton Grammar School employee has begun legal action with a $740,000 lawsuit after she fell from a ladder while cleaning windows in the school kitchen.

Stacey Sutherland claims the incident left her with a spinal injury that required surgery and aggravated a pre-existing spinal condition.

Court documents were filed in the Rockhampton District Court in December by Ms Sutherland, suing the Board of Trustees of the Rockhampton Grammar School for a workplace injury claim.

Ms Sutherland, 40, was employed at the school as a food trades/catering assistant.

The court documents detail an incident on April 4, 2017.

Ms Sutherland says she was cleaning high windows which were accessed by using a ladder when she fell.

It is claimed the ladder fall left Ms Sutherland with a neck and spinal soft tissue injury, specifically the C6 and 7 discs.

It is further claimed the incident aggravated Ms Sutherland's pre-existing degenerative cervical spinal injuries.

Bressington and Partners Solicitors Rockhampton, representing Ms Sutherland, are suing for $742,760.31 for pain and suffering.

Defence lawyers Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers, Brisbane, have hit back at the claim on behalf of the private school, arguing Ms Sutherland's monetary claim is "excessive and wholly disproportionate".

The defence documents agree the ladder fall occurred however they deny the allegations of the medical injuries and state the medical evidence does not support the claims by Ms Sutherland in the court documents.

The defence claims any injuries which occurred from the ladder fall have resolved and are not causing Ms Sutherland any ongoing impairment.

The defence argues Ms Sutherland returned to work at the school from December 2017 to May 2019 in a variety of roles.

The defence agrees Ms Sutherland did suffer some pain and suffered but not to extent she has claimed.

Ms Sutherland has claimed a future wage loss of $350,000 as a result of her injuries and the defence argues $50,000 is a reasonable amount given the alleged injuries.

The defence further argues future medical expenses cannot be claimed as they would have been incurred in any event due to the pre-existing conditions.

For general damages, Ms Sutherland has claimed a sum of $125,000 and the defence states $39,410 is appropriate given her injuries.

A final offer has been filed by the defence, the Board of Trustees of the Rockhampton Grammar School.