A Queensland childcare worker who tripped on a Lego block and injured her ankle has been awarded almost $200,000.
Chomba Anne Kabwe Nkamba had been setting up an obstacle course in the Queensland Childcare Service-operated centre in Ipswich in August 2017 when the accident happened.
According to court documents, she tripped while dragging a section of the obstacle course from a shed.
She said she couldn’t see the plastic brick, which unbeknownst to her had been knocked off a shelf and fallen into her path.
Nkamba suffered an ankle injury that was later diagnosed as a disruption of the anterior talofibular ligament.
As a result, she has suffered persistent pain and a lack of movement, the Queensland District Court was told.
She also suffered an “adjustment disorder with depressed mood from which she still suffers residual symptoms”, Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC wrote in his judgement.
“Generations of parents have admonished their children to put away their building blocks lest someone stand on them,” Horneman-Wren said in the judgement in Nkamba’s favour.
“That common and simple caution inherently recognises that a block on the ground may pose a risk to a person who steps upon it.”
Nkamba’s lawsuit alleged her injury was caused by her employer’s negligence and had cost her financially due to her inability to work.
The company argued she failed to “take reasonable care for her own safety”, and that Nkamba knocked the block to the ground herself and knew it was there.
However, Horneman-Wren rejected those arguments.
“It is not merely a question of did she need to look where she was placing her foot. It was a question of did she need to look where she was placing her foot because she may step on an object,” he said.
“That reasoning also dispenses with the further allegations that she failed to keep a look out or otherwise failed to take reasonable care for her own safety.
“Mrs Nkamba is not guilty of contributory negligence. The defendant is solely liable for her injury.”
He awarded Nkamba at total of $197,013.98, with legal costs to be decided at a later date.