On the 19th September 2007, Dan and his family’s lives would be changed forever.

Dan worked as a cleaning contractor in Central Queensland, spending his days on site cleaning mining equipment. Dan’s work took him all over Australia, working on huge equipment at various locations. He often worked remotely, away from his wife Deb during the week, returning on the weekends. On the day of the accident Dan was only working 21km from home, filling in for a mate on a 3-day job. On his way out the door he told Deb that the job was finishing early and he would be home early that afternoon.

On site, Dan was working underneath a large shade awning with large cement columns to hold it down. Unknown to him, the awning wasn’t correctly pinned down or secured.

One gust of wind was all it took to blow the huge structure into flight, with a large beam swinging through the air crashing in to Dan, almost cutting him in half. The impact of the concrete column at speed should have killed him. Dan recalls waking up on the ground, trying to get up and being told to just lay there. He was rushed to hospital, with a 50% chance of survival.

As Dan was rushed to hospital, Deb received the call no wife ever want’s to receive. When Deb got to the hospital, she had no idea of the seriousness of the accident. She recalls telling her children to just wait at home, as she though Dan’s accident was something minor. Due to the severity of Dan’s workplace accident, he was airlifted to Brisbane almost immediately; Deb in the chopper, at his side. It was at this point Deb was told Dan’s injuries were even worse than first thought; he only had a 2% chance of survival – not 50/50 like she had earlier been told.

After multiple surgeries, and against all odds, Dan survived.

After two weeks in ICU and one week in general ward at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, Dan was transferred to the Spinal Injury Unit at the Princess Alexandria Hospital. Due to the severity of his work accident, Dan was unable to leave Brisbane. He spent 6 months recovering in the spinal unit, with Deb at his side. It was during this time that our Director, Faran, met this incredible couple.

Legally, it was a long road for Dan, for Deb and for our team with the process of the workers compensation claim including treatment and rehabilitation taking many years. The claim period was complicated and lengthy because there were 4 separate parties who needed to share responsibility for the accident, and who each in turn sought to blame the other parties.

On 16th August 2011, almost 4 years to the date of injury, the claim proceeded to compulsory settlement conference where all parties were in attendance for the purpose of attempting to negotiate a settlement of the claim. Four respondents in all were involved in the claim, including Dan’s employer. At the conclusion of several hours of negotiation the final combined offer from all parties was $0. This was a devastating outcome for Dan and Deb, after an extremely emotional day, at the end of over 4 years of an emotional roller coaster.

A Claim, Statement of Claim, and a Statement of Loss and Damage was prepared in order to have proceedings commenced in the Supreme Court. The Respondents made an attempt at further negotiation, but despite the offer being substantial, we advised Dan not to accept the offer and to press forward with litigation. On the final day available for acceptance of Dan’s final offer at mediation, the respondents jointly accepted his final offer of settlement.

Given the complexity of the claim, and the multiple parties involved, we were over the moon for the result for our client, as the settlement would provide him and his family the money to live comfortably. It would allow Dan to undergo the treatment options open to him, to attempt to minimise his pain experience, and to allow him to achieve the best quality of life possible in the circumstances.

The settlement that Dan received has allowed him to explore a number of treatment options previously out of reach to him, and otherwise focus on achieving the very best quality of life in their future life together. Last year they travelled to Bangkok Better Being Hospital for a 6 week treatment course, which involved stem cell implants, acupuncture and therapy. It was a holistic, whole body approach. Dan has also undertaken 8 months of Brain Wave Therapy, which attempts to reprogram the brain to allow for better management of pain. These treatments have, for the most part, been aimed at reducing Dan’s pain. He has had great success – his pain level was reduced down from 9 / 10 to 2 / 10 for a period, an enormous change for any chronic pain sufferer.

We are inspired by how Dan and Deb have approached this experience and by how they have been able to approach life in such an incredibly positive way, in circumstances where life dealt Dan a horrible hand. Seeing families refocus, regroup, and come together to support each other post-accident is why we are driven to do what we do. Great outcomes like this put a smile on our faces. Congratulations to Dan and Deb for your unfailing determination and strength, you inspire us all.

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Dan uses an exercise bike to keep active. Over the last few years he has continued to improve, no doubt the support of the family dog helps!

Dan and Deb are often out in Rockhampton, Deb is very involved in the local artistic community, (among many other things!).

The one thing Dan has always wanted was his GT. While he can't get over to work on the engine any more, he and his son often work on it together.