An ultramarathon runner who suffered catastrophic burns when a bushfire swept through an event in the Kimberley has launched legal action against the race organisers.
Turia Pitt and several other competitors suffered burns covering more than 60 per cent of their bodies while running in the 100km race in the Kimberley region in September 2011.
A WA parliamentary committee later found Hong Kong-based organisers Racing the Planet did not take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the runners.
Ms Pitt and another badly burnt runner, Kate Sanderson, were each given $450,000 in act-of-grace payments from the State Government.
But today, lawyer Greg Walsh said race organisers Racing the Planet still “steadfastly disputed” the inquiry findings, and refused to admit fault.
“Regrettably all attempts to have Racing the Planet mediate the matter have proven unsuccessful, despite very considerable efforts to seek to avoid litigation which will only attribute significant stress and anxiety to Turia,” Mr Walsh said in a statement.
“There is nothing further Mr Walsh can do so far as seeking to avoid litigation and, as a result, proceedings have been commenced in Supreme Court at Sydney by the filing of the Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars on Miss Pitt’s behalf today.
“The determination of Turia to achieve justice and obtain damages to assist in her recovery will prevail.”
Mr Walsh had previously said he had intended to sue the event’s organisers for in excess of $10 million.
Ms Pitt, a former model, appeared before the parliamentary committee wearing a compression suit covering her face and body, and said she had spent five months in hospital following the race.
She lost all her fingers on her right hand, and could no longer work, while her partner also had to give up work to care for her full-time.
Ms Pitt said she cannot bend one of her elbows and cannot feed, dress or wash herself without assistance.She is due to travel to France later this year to attend a world-renowned burns rehabilitation as advised by her specialist doctor Professor Peter Haertsch.
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