Cotton On worker awarded $235k in damages

A former Cotton On employee has been awarded almost $250,000 in damages after she was struck on the head by a heavy pallet while working for the retailer in Queensland.


Erin Jade Talty, 32, suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of the workplace accident at a Cotton On warehouse in April 2012.

Ms Talty also sustained injuries to her ankle and knee when the pallet, which weighed between 90kg and 100kg fell from a height of about six metres and hit her on the side of the head.

She was awarded a total of $235,668 in damages in a judgement delivered by the Brisbane District Court on Friday.

“I conclude that the plaintiff has suffered a loss of employability at the level she could have realistically aspired to but for the injury,” Judge Brendan Butler said in his judgement.

Cotton On admitted liability and negligence but disputed the nature, extent and consequences of the injuries Ms Talty had suffered.

Mr Butler said the permanent brain injury was significant as it constituted an “eight per cent whole person impairment”.

Ms Talty has no memory of the workplace accident, which left her in hospital for eight days.

After being released she convalesced for about three weeks while in the care of her mother, the court was told.

The young woman initially returned to Cotton On as part of a gradual return to work program but said she experienced difficulties with her memory and concentrating.

After recovering, she returned to full-time hours but said she still got mentally fatigued at work and was unable to physically keep up.

She resigned in October 2014 and currently works 15 to 25 hours a week as a cleaner and has just began an additional part-time role at Big W.