Teen sues for $700,000 over library fall
A MACKAY teen wants more than $700,000 in damages over claims he has limited work prospects after he was injured plummeting nearly six metres through a hidden, sun-damaged skylight inside The Dome.
Jake Cahill was playing "tiggy" with friends in the Dudley Denny City Library's children's area on January 9, 2017, when he jumped from a planter box and landed on the skylight's plastic dome. It gave way and he fell about 5.7 metres.
More than two years later he claims he walks with a limp and still has pain in both feet, especially after prolonged standing or walking. He also alleges the fall resulted in a psychiatric injury.
The former Mackay State High School student is suing Mackay Regional Council - which runs the library - over allegedly breaching safety obligations by failing to identify the skylight as a significant danger and take adequate precautions.
The council denies the claim and has hit back, saying the teen ignored his own safety and was partly or entirely responsible for any injuries.
Paperwork filed with Mackay Supreme Court on behalf of Jake Cahill states the risk was "reasonably foreseeable" and that if the skylight could be accessed then a person may stand on it or a child may jump on it.
But the council has defended itself, arguing that any safety checks would not have included whether the skylight could withstand the force of a teenage boy jumping on it and denying that it was "readily accessible".
"The risk would have been obvious to a reasonable person in (Jake's) position," the council's defence statement read.
The council claimed that Jake, then 14, "knew the perspex dome was not there for the purpose of playing games" and that the teen had "engaged in a high-risk activity of jumping from the planter box onto the skylight".
But Jake denied engaging in "deliberate and reckless conduct".
The documents state that Jake left school with no qualifications or experience and was likely suited to unskilled manual labour.
He claims his injuries restrict him to sedentary work and because of his ADHD, limited education and psychiatric injury "is at a significant disadvantage in obtaining such employment".
Court documents also allege Jake is at a significant disadvantage for any prospective job outside an accommodating and supportive environment "also because of his psychiatric injury and the deleterious effect on his ADHD".
However, the council refutes the nature and extent of the personal injuries alleged - but claims that if the court finds a duty of care was breached then "such injuries were caused entirely or contributed to by the negligence of the plaintiff in failing to have regard for his own safety".
The case has not yet reached the courtroom, instead playing out through filed documents, including two sealed offers to settle - the first on behalf of Jake and the second from the council - and an amended statement of facts lodged in August.