Law firm Hoffmans has been ordered to pay damages of more than $160,000 to a former client, after it failed to sue the sur- geon who left him perma- nently disabled and needing a wheelchair.
Brent Falkingham had claimed negligence, saying the firm failed to take legal action in time against a neurosurgeon who operated on him in 1998.
The operation, following a mountain bike accident, left Mr Falkingham without the use of his right leg, after the nerves at the base of his spine were compressed during or after the operation.
Mr Falkingham, who was then 22, claimed the neurosurgeon had failed to warn him of the risk, and also botched his post-operative care.
He approached the law firm in October 1998 with the intention of suing the surgeon.
After paying a retainer, the solicitors agreed to issue a writ before the limitation period expired in February 2004.
But they failed to do so, and Mr Falkingham instead sued the law firm.
After a Supreme Court judge originally dismissed the claim, an appeal court has now ruled that Mr Falkingham would in all probability have gone on with the writ, and that he had a strong case.
Hoffmans, which specialises in public liability and medical negligence cases, has been ordered to pay the 37-year-old more than $160,000 in damages.