Sydney woman awarded $1m after falling between train and platform

Aluk Majok Chol was captured by CCTV cameras on the afternoon of August 4, 2016, attempting to board a train at Auburn Railway Station.

A few seconds after the train pulled up she collects her shopping bags and approaches the doors that begin closing.

Auburn Train Station
The woman fell between the train and platform at Auburn Train Station. (Google Maps)

To prevent this she throws out her right arm but her handbag strap gets caught and closed on by the doors.

The train then moves away while Chol is pulling on her handbag, causing her to fall between the edge of the platform.

The 46-year-old claims to have sustained such “catastrophic injuries” she requires extensive treatment and care for the rest of her life.

Sydney Trains argued that Chol “was the author of her own misfortune” and placed herself in a position of danger by attempting to stop the doors closing.

The rail network further submitted that Chol lost her balance and fell because she was drunk, and it was not the fault of an employee.

A busy Sydney train
The woman has been awarded more than $1 million in damages. (AAP)

Justice Richard Cavanagh found the accident was caused by a casual act of negligence by a guard who failed to ensure Chol was safely away from danger before allowing the train to move.

“I do not accept that (Chol) simply overbalanced as she was intoxicated,” Cavanagh wrote in his judgment on Wednesday.

“The train started to move immediately after the doors closed whilst she was hanging onto the strap of her handbag.

“This resulted in her being pulled or jolted and losing her balance.

“Of course, the fact that she had a hold of her handbag itself demonstrates how close she was to the edge of the train.”

The judge the submission that passengers deciding and attempting to catch a train at the last minute in the hope of getting on was a regular occurrence.

And he agreed the train employees could not delay the schedule every time that occurred, saying the “system” by which Sydney Trains operated was safe if adhered to.

And the judge pointed out that it would be impossible to ensure all passengers have moved away from a moving train.

“However, being right on the edge of the platform is plainly a precarious and very dangerous position,” he said.

Some of the injuries Chol suffered include substantial pelvic fractures which required extensive surgery, fractures to her spine and a ruptured bladder.

She was awarded $1,179,368.53 to treat her extensive after-care, following an estimate that she would require $823,064.00 for appropriate accommodation.

Damages assessed at an original sum of $1,760,251.54 was reduced by 33 percent due to “contributory negligence”.

Chol made no claim for economic loss, as she had not worked since coming to Australia from South Sudan.

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