Woolworths compensates staffer after vicious bird attack in car park

A woman who was "severely injured" when a bird swooped her has been compensated by Woolworths to the tune of almost $17,000.

Anita Smith was struck by a bird, a native peewee, on May 14 that's known to guard the entryway to Kiama Village Shopping Centre.

A customer service officer for the supermarket, Ms Smith had surgery on her injury in mid-July, described in a compensation claim as an "inturned central part of the right eye flap", Fairfax Media reports.

Ms Smith was among at least 10 people who required medical attention as a result of the bird's attacks, according to an area ophthalmologist.

The woman has worked in Woolworths' customer service department since 2010. Source: AAP / Stock image

The Workers Compensation Commission ordered Woolworths to pay Ms Smith her lost wages after the incident, which was almost $17,000 after 25 weeks of reduced employment.

The company also has to pay Ms Smith's medical and rehabilitation bills.

The supermarket however, argued that the incident had nothing to do with her employment. Counsel for the supermarket had argued she was "not performing any work" at the time of the injury.

A Woolworths store manager had earlier placed blame on centre management for not acting after previous attacks.

The bird was a peewee, also known as a magpie lark. Source: Getty Images / Stock image

"Centre management had previously been informed regarding a number of bird attacks and chose to do nothing about this until this and other serious incidents happened", the company countered, in its submission.

John Harris, the commission's arbitrator, found an employer doesn't escape liability due to the fault of another party.

Ms Smith's employment brought her to the point where the injury occurred and that the injury "arose out of the employment", Mr Harris found.

The incident happened at Kiama Shopping Centre. Source: Google Maps

"It is extremely unlikely that Ms Smith would have been attacked by the peewee at that time, had she not been in the course of her employment."

It was noted by the commission that Kiama council had made attempts to deter the bird by placing two imitations owls in the area.

The bird was shot dead on June 20 in a cordoned off area after Kiama council sought a permit from National Parks and Wildlife to cull the bird.

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