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Kmart shopper wins more than $600,000 payout after suffering serious injury in store

Rita Marmara had to undergo two surgeries following the accident.

A woman has sued Kmart for close to $750,000 after suffering a life-changing injury in a NSW store.

Before Rita Marmara set foot inside the Woy Woy store on the state’s Central Coast, she worked a fairly physical job at a retirement home. However, she wasn’t able to carry out her daily work tasks following that visit to Kmart and needed several surgeries.

CCTV captured the moment the 64-year-old was struck by a boxed mountain bike in the self-checkout section of the Kmart store. As another customer was trying to move two bikes, their trolley tipped over, causing one of the boxes to hit Marmara in the back, according to news.com.au.

Rita Marmara next to Kmart store
Rita Marmara had to undergo two surgeries following the accident at a Kmart store in NSW. (Source: Facebook/Google Maps)

Do you have a story? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

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She had to undergo two operations after experiencing neck and shoulder pain following the accident. The shopper was also unable to work and decided to take the company to court. She sued Kmart for damages amounting to $743,971 in medical treatment costs and lost income.

During the trial, District Court Judge Judith Gibson said the accident resulted in a massive change to Marmara’s life.

“She was a fit and healthy person who walked to work full-time and performed a job which had a significant physical activity component,” Judge Gibson said, according to news.com.au.

“That physical work included dragging trolleys, cleaning pots and assisting in the care of residents whose physical health was fragile in circumstances where they would have been dependent upon her strength if called upon.”

While Marmara was seeking close to three-quarters of a million dollars in the case, Kmart estimated the damages were around $5,000.

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Gibson hit out at the wildly different amounts, saying they “could not be further apart” and that “estimates of this extreme nature are of no assistance to the court”.

The court heard Kmart had a loading dock section of the store where customers could pay for large, bulky or heavy items. This allows shoppers to then take them directly to their cars. However, a Kmart attendant didn’t tell the customer buying the two mountain bikes about this and there were no signs that “such a service was available”.

Gibson said there was a “high” risk of harm in this situation and said it could have been much worse.

“Although the plaintiff was struck only by the larger box, the impact of the blow was considerable,” the judge said. “The plaintiff was holding the hand of a small child at the time. That child could have been struck by one or both boxes falling out.”

Gibson rejected Kmart’s submissions that painted Marmara as someone who had “hoodwinked” or “misled” her doctors and her surgeon by “fabricating symptoms” following the accident.

The court ruled in favour of Marmara and she was awarded a minimum of $613,461.55. She could receive more money because final costs - including out-of-pocket expenses - are still being debated between the 64-year-old and Kmart.

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