A life changing fall: Ricardo’s story

We all have the right to feel safe at work and return home at the end of each day.

This was not the case for our client, Ricardo Fuentes, who almost died at his workplace in February 2020 after falling 10 metres to the ground when scaffolding collapsed.

Ricardo was working on a building site at a townhouse when the scaffolding gave way, hurtling the workers to the ground.

At first, his workmates thought Ricardo was dead.

“For me, it was about holding on (to the scaffolding) for dear life and that’s all I remember to that point. From there I’ve gone down and hit the ground, I don’t remember anything until waking up and the paramedics were cutting my clothes,” he said.

“It’s a bit of an eerie feeling when you think back because you could have lost your life there and you never think of death but when it happens everything goes quiet, everything slows down.”

The 55-year-old was rushed to hospital with serious injuries to his ribs and spine.

A life-changing injury

The incident changed the lives of Ricardo and his wife immeasurably: Ricardo’s ability to earn a living was diminished because of his extensive injuries, and they needed their son to help them financially to make ends meet.

More than three years later, Ricardo still needs a suite of painkillers and specialist appointments, and struggles to sleep through the night. The couple even had to move from their home so that they no longer had to drive past the worksite, as it became too traumatic.

“I used to drive past there a lot of the time, I’d constantly pass it and it was like I was up there,” Ricardo said.

“Sometimes the nightmares come back, not so much about the site but about falling so you have connections with the accident, it never leaves you. That’s the thing with major trauma, you always have a connection to it in little ways that affect your day.”

Helping Ricardo move forward

Ricardo enlisted the help of Arnold Thomas & Becker to help him get back on his feet and move forward with his new normal.

Ilbron Osalian, Ricardo’s lawyer, said his client had to live with these injuries for the rest of his life.

“As a consequence of his injuries, he was totally incapacitated for work for a period and then was only able to return to work on limited hours and duties before this was no longer viable.

“He is now unable to return to work in the type of employment he was trained and had experience in prior to this injury and, indeed, has had to make dramatic changes to his employment to accommodate. This means he has suffered significant loss of earnings and will see his future earning capacity severely impacted.”

“We will be seeking compensation for what Ricardo has endured and will continue to endure – in this case we would be expecting to achieve financial compensation in the hundreds of thousands which assist him in his recovery and provide some security for his future.”

The workers compensation claims process

We know that suffering an injury at work can have a catastrophic effect on your health, emotional well-being, quality of life and financial security – as it has for Ricardo. We also know that dealing with large government agencies can be challenging, which is not what you need when you should be focusing on your recovery.

With our experienced lawyers on your side, you can be sure you will get the maximum compensation you are entitled to, including lump sums, medical expenses and weekly payments. Let us eliminate the stress and frustration while you get better.

While Ricardo has suffered immense physical injuries, he has also had to deal with the psychological trauma after the incident, and likely will for his entire life. We don’t just look at your condition but the total effect it has had on your life, including related health issues and complications.

For more information about how to claim and the compensation process, visit our Workers Compensation page.

Contact us

If you have been injured at work, we’re here to help with your compensation entitlements, and if you don’t win, there’s no fee. To speak to a lawyer for a confidential, no-obligation discussion, call us on 1300 333 300 or email [email protected]

Ricardo’s story was also published by The Herald Sun.