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Aluk Majok Chol awarded $1million payout from Sydney Trains after falling between train and platform

Sudanese immigrant awarded more than $1 million after she wedged her handbag in train doors and clung to it as she was pulled between the moving train and the platform

  • Sydney Trains ordered to pay a woman more than a million dollars after a fall
  • Six years ago, Aluk Chol was pulled between a moving train and the platform
  • She had been holding a handbag that got stuck between the doors of the train
  • The court heard that station guards were negligent in letting the train depart

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A woman has won a huge payout after falling between a moving train and the platform when her bag got stuck in the door.

Aluk Majok Chol was awarded more than $1 million in a David and Goliath lawsuit against Sydney Trains after being seriously injured in 2016.

Ms Chol, 52, attempted to board a train at Auburn Station on Aug. 4, 2016 by slinging her handbag between the doors to prevent them from closing.

But the doors wouldn’t open, and she hung on to her bag until the train pulled her off balance as it left the station.

Sydney Trains ordered to pay a Sydney woman more than $1 million six years after she fell between a moving train and a platform with her handbag stuck in the doors

Sydney Trains ordered to pay a Sydney woman more than $1 million six years after she fell between a moving train and a platform with her handbag stuck in the doors

CCTV showed the moment when she fell between the edge of the platform and the moving train and was seriously injured.

Justice Richard Cavanagh said the severity of the injuries demonstrated Sydney Train’s negligence, and ordered it to pay Ms Chol $1,179,368.53 in damages.

“While there is disagreement about the extent of her disability and disabilities, there is little disagreement about the nature of the injuries sustained,” he said. NCA Newswire.

Sydney Trains lawyers argued that Ms Chol was the ‘author’ of her own accident. She said she was drunk and fell because she couldn’t balance properly.

The woman suffered extensive injuries as a result of the accident at Auburn Station (pictured) in Sydney's west

The woman suffered extensive injuries as a result of the accident at Auburn Station (pictured) in Sydney's west

The woman suffered extensive injuries as a result of the accident at Auburn Station (pictured) in Sydney’s west

Ms Chol claimed Sydney Trains was negligent across the board, with ‘defects’ in the system at the station, ‘failure’ of station staff and train attendants to stop the train while in danger.

Her attorney, John Catsanos SC, claimed that the staff saw Ms Chol walk up to the train door and “run the train” rather than making sure Ms Chol was away from the train when it left the station.

“They kept the train running despite her position,” he said.

Ms Chol further argued that the ‘catastrophic’ injuries from the accident disabled her and required extensive treatment and care for the rest of her life.

Sydney Trains attorney David O’Dowd said Ms Chol put herself in danger by trying to stop the doors.

Mrs Chol's lawyer alleged that Sydney Trains staff (pictured) were negligent in allowing the train to depart with Mrs Chol so close to the carriages

Mrs Chol's lawyer alleged that Sydney Trains staff (pictured) were negligent in allowing the train to depart with Mrs Chol so close to the carriages

Mrs Chol’s lawyer alleged that Sydney Trains staff (pictured) were negligent in allowing the train to depart with Mrs Chol so close to the carriages

“While Sydney Trains does not dispute the CCTV footage, it argues that the plaintiff would not have fallen if she had not been drunk,” said Justice Cavanagh.

The defense argued that its employees acted in line with the ‘accepted system’.

The prosecutors did not accept that Ms Chol was drunk and said the fact that she was still holding her handbag showed how close she had been to the edge of the train.

Justice Cavanagh found that the accident was caused by the accidental act of negligence on the part of a guard, but admitted that passengers often try to jump into the carriage at the last minute and trains were unable to be delayed every time it happened.

He also accepted that it would not be possible to ensure passengers were a safe distance from moving trains at all times.

Ms. Chol received $1,179,368.53, including payment for general damages, past and future care, housing costs, out-of-pocket expenses, future treatments and needs.

Sydney Trains must pay Ms Chol the full amount.

It was estimated that she would need $823,064 for suitable accommodation.

Ms Chol claimed no economic loss because she had not worked since emigrating to Australia from South Sudan.

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