Fire safety gets the finger

We’re all getting very safety conscious these days, but what happens when safety measures cause injuries?

QUESTION: We recently had our annual fire safety check and the inspector altered the restraint on the front door closer that stops it from slamming, saying it didn’t close properly.

When I left home next morning, instead of slowing down as usual, the door slammed on my finger, ripping off the tip.

I have some out-of-pocket expenses and ongoing physio bills and was wondering who I approach for compensation and how this is done. – The Rooster, via Forum.

ANSWER: We have an annual ritual in our building where the fire safety guy comes round and adjusts all the doors to ‘slam’ setting, followed a week later by the building manager, sick of complaints about slamming doors, going round and turning them back to soft click.

But back to the question, when one reader suggested suing the Owners Corporation, Rooster had a conflict of interest.

“l’m an owner on the executive committee so it seems ironic to in effect sue myself, but I wonder if the next step is for the owners corporation via the Strata managers to sue the fire safety company in order to recoup any losses.”

Good point: who’s responsible and how does he make them pay?

“It’s an inherent defect in common property for which the owners corporation¬† is responsible,” says strata lawyer Stephen Goddard. “The OC doubtless needs to fix the common property and notify their public liability insurer. If there’s an inherent defect in the door or breach of duty of care on behalf of OC, his damage claim should be to the OC.”

Stephen adds that the OC could claim on their insurance and, if the contractor was at fault, it’s up to OC or insurer to go after the fire safety company.

“Your reader needs to quantify his damage, medical expenses and any loss of income or economic loss and then give the OC a period of time to do something, otherwise he’ll file a claim.”

Better safe than sorry? Have your say on the Flat Chat Forum.

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