A 64-yr-old woman will battle Moonee Valley council for compensation after tripping over a hazardous footpath in Ascot Vale earlier this month.
Maria Brambati was buying her weekly groceries along Ascot Vale’s Union Road when she claims to have tripped and fell on an irregular dip in the public footpath.
Her wounds resulted in deep tissue damage to her left arm, cuts and bruises to her knees, as well as frequent visits to the doctor for prescriptions painkillers.
“I’ve had X-rays and have been referred to a specialist for more testing on my arm. My doctors say to keep it bandaged for the next six weeks,” Mrs Brambati told the Newsroom.
“After making my complaint to the council, they repaired the footpath that same morning, but it was far too late for me.”
Mrs Brambati raised concerns for other pedestrians saying the council’s methods are backwards.
“That dip is not the only flaw in our footpaths, just over the road there are parts of concrete that are completely removed,” she said. “You can see the metal framework where the path once was.”
“I think the council are waiting until someone else falls before they’ll fix it.”
Irene from Moonee Ponds Council told the Newsroom they’re doing their best to keep things safe.
“If you tell us of a footpath that’s dangerous then we’ll take that report seriously,” she said. “Our infrastructure department will attend the scene and assess the damage severity.
“If someone is injured on our paths they need to fill out a form and return it to us before we can look at compensating them.
“But there are definitely avenues of approach for insurance or compensation”
The Newsroom spoke exclusively with solicitor Samuel Kwasi from Shine Lawyer’s who said claims like these will last 12 months.
“Maria will need to wait at least eight months for her first assessment,” he said. “From there she’ll need to attend interviews and doctor visits over following months until a figure of compensation can be decided upon.
“In some instances it can take years,” Mr Kwasi said.
Mrs Brambati said she’ll try her best to take action on her claim but fears her age and inexperience will slow her down.
“I’m getting older, I don’t have as much energy as I once had. Hopefully I’ll be able to follow through with this complaint and get the type of settlement I deserve. For now I’m focusing on my health and feeling better,” Mrs Brambati said.
In a formally proposed Moonee Valley Council Plan that covers budgets from 2013-17, the council reports an expected $587,000 will be spent on restorations of local footpaths this year. – Photo and report by Jessica Ankomah