Ski-lift groin hit costs Perisher $1.2m

ninemsn staff
5:36am October 8, 2013

A Sydney doctor has been awarded $1.2 million in damages after she was hit in the groin by a chair lift at the Perisher ski resort.

Ghita Nair-Smith, 54, convinced a court she suffered serious injuries that have restricted her ability to work full time as a GP or enjoy recreational activities like travel and having sex.

Dr Nair-Smith, a GP from the southern Sydney suburb of Kirrawee, was struck from behind by a ski lift safety bar while she and a friend were waiting to travel to a ski-run in July 2003, Fairfax reports.

Dr Nair-Smith told the NSW Supreme Court she noticed the safety bar had not been raised and was threatening to knock them over as the chair turned the bullwheel of the lift.

But when the lift operator tried to raise the bar at the last moment, it moved out of alignment and wedged between Dr Nair-Smith's legs, she claimed.

Dr Nair-Smith remained straddled on the bar until her friend managed to pull her into her seat.

The court heard the collision damaged ligaments around her groin and lower back, causing her significant ongoing pain and, as a consequence, a psychiatric pain disorder.

Perisher told the court the lift operator raised the bar in a safe and timely manner, and claimed Dr Nair-Smith panicked unnecessarily and moved out of alignment with the designated loading point.

Justice Robert Beech-Jones ruled the ski operator was negligent and had breached its duty of care.

Last week he awarded Dr Nair-Smith $1.19 million, excluding interest.

The sum includes the cost of a special bed mattress and paying a cleaner each week for the rest of her life, compensation for her family for ongoing domestic assistance, and compensation for the one-and-a-half-days a week she can no longer work.

Justice Beech-Jones rejected Dr Nair-Smith's claim that she had post-traumatic stress disorder and needed specialised pain-relieving injections.

Author: Erin Tennant. Approving editor: Nick Pearson.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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