Abuse victim awarded $12 million in damages after nightclub assault

Abuse victim awarded $12 million in damages after nightclub assault

In this blog, we delve into the case of Matthew Leonard, a man who suffered life-changing physical and mental disabilities as a result of an assault after an altercation with a nightclub bouncer in Hobart in 2014. Mr Leonard sued the bouncer and the employer of the bouncer, and was awarded over $12,000,000 compensation.

The incident that Matthew Leonard was involved in has been recently reported in an ABC news article, “Man awarded $12 million in damages after punch by Hobart nightclub bouncer in 2014”.

As mentioned in the case summary below, Mr Leonard was found to have contributed, to a degree, to the injuries he sustained. However, this should not deter victims of assault or abuse investigating their rights and entitlements to personal injury compensation. We encourage individuals who have been assaulted or abused to seek legal advice early as time limits apply. Our abuse compensation lawyers can provide advice and assistance.


Case summary

In 2014, Matthew Leonard, aged 28 at the time, was involved in an altercation with a bouncer outside a nightclub in Hobert.

During the course of the altercation, the bouncer’s arm contacted Mr Leonard, and he fell to the ground. The fall resulted in Mr Leonard suffering a severe head injury.

Mr Leonard remained an inpatient at the Royal Hobart Hospital for 40 weeks, including two months in the intensive care unit and seven months in the acute rehabilitation unit.

Legal proceedings were commenced against the bouncer and the employer of the bouncer.

CCTV of the incident was examined by the judge, with a determination that the security guard had “punched the plaintiff rather than pushed him, and the punch connected with his face”. The actions of the security guard were not considered self-defence by the court, and even had the security guard believed he needed to apply force in the circumstances, the force demonstrated by the CCTV was not appropriate in the judge’s view.

Resulting injuries of the assault victim

As a result of his injuries, Mr Leonard now requires:

  • 24-hour care;
  • a diverse range of medications;
  • machine-assisted breathing at night; and
  • behavioural regulation and support.

Compensation in excess of $12,000,000 awarded

Acting Judge Porter awarded damages of $12,490,640.

This damages figure takes into account:

  • loss of earning capacity;
  • medical expenses;
  • pain and suffering lump sum compensation; and
  • the care Mr Leonard will require in the future.

The majority of the damages were attributed to the estimated costs of future attendant care. However, it was noted that Mr Leonard bore approximately 20 percent of the total responsibility for his injury due to his antagonistic behaviour leading to the incident, which impacted the amount of damages awarded.

Compensation available for abuse victims

Under Australian law, individuals who have suffered physical or psychological injuries due to the actions of others may be eligible for compensation.

This compensation can cover a range of damages, including:

  1. Pain and suffering: Victims can be compensated, with a lump sum payment, for the physical and emotional distress suffered by them as a result of the events.
  2. Medical expenses: Medical expenses incurred as a direct result of the injury can be claimed, including hospitalisation, surgery, medication, rehabilitation costs, and travel expenses to attend medical appointments.
  3. Loss of earning capacity: If the victim’s ability to work is diminished due to the injury, they can seek compensation for the income they would have earned (immediately after the injury and future earnings) if not for the injury.
  4. Future attendant care: In cases where victims require ongoing care and support, the cost of future attendant care, as well as assistive devices or home modifications, may be compensated.

Get help from a personal injury lawyer

It is essential for victims to seek legal advice and understand their rights and the compensation they may be entitled to under Australian state legislation.

Hall Payne Lawyers specialises in helping abuse victims navigate these complex legal matters and secure the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or someone you know has been a victim of abuse, please contact our abuse team for support and guidance.

Contacting Hall Payne Lawyers

You can contact us by phone or email to arrange your consultation; either face-to-face at one of our offices, by telephone or by videoconference consultation.

Phone: 1800 659 114
Email: general@hallpayne.com.au

  This article relates to Australian law; either at a State or Federal level.

The information contained on this site is for general guidance only. No person should act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your particular circumstances. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Hall Payne Lawyers.

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