Hotel duty manager suffers PTSD after assault while working

Published 21 Mar 2017

A hotel duty manager has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a range of other psychological problems following an incident where he was assaulted at work.

PTSD can be considered a total and permanent disability (TPD) if the condition prevents an individual from returning to work or stops them from pursuing their former occupation.

In this case, the man was forced to leave the hotel industry and start a new career as a fish and chip bar owner. He continues to struggle with the symptoms of PTSD, as well as major depressive episodes and anxiety.

His case went before New South Wales District Court because he pursued a common law action for damages due to the injuries and disabilities that his attacker caused.

Hotel bar assault

The plaintiff was working at the Brunswick Heads Hotel in NSW when a large party was celebrating an individual's 21st birthday on the premises.

The hotel staff had stopped serving alcohol to the group because a member of the party bought an alcoholic drink for a person who had previously been refused service because they were inebriated.

However, this caused the defendant, who was the father of the man celebrating his 21st, to approach the bar and begin remonstrating with the barman for halting service.

As duty manager, the plaintiff stepped in, but upon doing so he was punched several times by the defendant. Several more people from the party joined in the fracas and began hitting the plaintiff.

Eventually, a female bar supervisor managed to drag the plaintiff away and escape to an office where they locked themselves in. The defendant and his group were subsequently asked to leave the hotel.

Injuries and damages

The plaintiff suffered a number of injuries in the assault, including bruising and tenderness around the eyes and mouth, various abrasions and pain to his middle and lower back, and neck.

While some of these injuries remain a problem, it is the plaintiff's psychological diagnoses that the judge focused on when awarding damages.

The plaintiff continues to suffer chronic PTSD and other mental health issues, and resigned from the hotel industry after another scuffle he was involved in upon returning to his job. He described this as the "tipping point" for giving up on that career path.

Due to the severity of his injuries and disabilities, the judge awarded the plaintiff more than $231,509 in damages. He may also be eligible to make a TPD claim if his superannuation or insurance policy contains coverage for permanent disabilities such as PTSD.

Would you like to know more about TPD claims? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers.

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