Needle in a strawberry tampered stack

Wednesday 26 September 2018
Linda Hanley

Although first reported to be found in strawberries sold by Woolworths in Queensland, the nation has been the ultimate target in the fruit tampering saga.  And it’s not just strawberries that have been affected.  Isolated cases of sewing needles have also recently been found in a mangos, bananas and apples.  In just over one week, there was a total of 100 cases of fruit contamination.

Personal injury lawyer Linda Hanley said that consumers who have suffered an injury through a defective product may sue for compensation under the Wrongs Act 1985 (Vic) or Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 (Vic). 

“Injured consumers are able to pursue compensation under both Acts, however, if successful, they would have to elect between the two available remedies under each of the Acts. 

“The type of claim our clients proceed with ultimately depends on their individual circumstances and what would be most advantageous to them”.

In either type of claim the injured consumer can recover compensation for their pain and suffering, loss of earnings, medical expenses associated with treatment and the cost of care needed by reason of the injury.  Injured consumers have three years from the date of injury to bring a claim.

Both types of claims are made against both the supplier of the fruit and the retailer who sold the contaminated fruit.  Further, the relevant legislation requires that the injured consumer demonstrates that they have suffered an injury to a required level of severity in order to qualify for compensation.

The highest amount of compensation that a successful claimant would be awarded for pain and suffering damages also differs between the two types of claims.  Under the Wrongs Act, the current maximum amount of damages that can be awarded is just over $598,000.  Under the Australian Consumer and Fair Trading Act, the maximum amount of damages that can be awarded is just over $334,000. 

According to Linda Hanley, “To ensure that injured consumers obtain the best outcome possible, it is imperative they seek expert advice prior to proceeding with a claim”.

If you have been a victim of fruit contamination or have suffered from a similar incident, call Adviceline Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988 for free information about your rights and entitlements.

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