World crashed down around businessman on day of celebration

A SUCCESSFUL businessman was dreaming about semi-retirement, playing with his 'toys' and spending many hours laughing with and loving his fiance when his world literally came crashing down.

Brian Charles Ferguson, 61, is suing Capricorn Tavern for damages in excess of $860,000 after a chair he sat on at the Taranganba venue collapsed underneath him causing permanent damage.

Mr Ferguson, who owns and operates a crematorium in Sarina and the Central Highlands Funeral Services in Emerald, shared his story after Shine Lawyers filed the claim in the Rockhampton Supreme Court.

He said he had just signed the paperwork to purchase a holiday home at Yeppoon and was waiting for his fiance Carol when the life-changing incident occurred on December 4, 2017.

Mr Ferguson said he doesn't normally gamble, but he was bored so he decided to play the pokies for a few minutes while waiting for her.

While sitting on a stool at a pokie machine, Mr Ferguson turned slightly to his right in order to talk to someone when the stool broke and/or cracked.

Mr Ferguson landed on his back.

"When I got up from the fall, I was in a haze," he said.

The court documents claim Mr Ferguson sustained a soft tissue and/or musculoligamentous and/or musculoskeletal injury to his lumbar spine, along with major depression.

Mr Ferguson said his fiance had to wipe his bottom, put on his socks and jocks for him for 12 months after the accident and still does from time to time.

"I felt like a four-year-old kid again, in a 60-year-old body," he said.

"It is frightening what I've gone through.

Mr Ferguson said he'd gone from being an average person, who spent 40 years working in the funeral industry, with toys such as jet skis, motor bikes and race cars, and being able to work with no ailments to someone who spends most of his day in bed in pain and having to hire two people to do the work he use to do in his businesses.

"In the funeral industry, you do pick up a lot of dead weight so I had to get more staff," he said.

"I can't lift anymore than three kilograms now."

Mr Ferguson said he had to sell all of his toys, which he can no longer operate due to his injuries, and he has spent about $60,000 of his own money on medical and other expenses.

"I've had nine procedures since," he said.

"I've seen 15 specialists and 10 doctors.

"Some times I can't put my hands over my head.

"I can't feel my right butt cheek.

"I struggle to go to the toilet.

"I'm always angry … I use to always be happy. My staff have noticed the change in me.

"My life stinks at the moment. I'm truly, truly struggling.

Mr Ferguson said he has been told he will have to undergo a procedure every three months for the rest of his life.

Mr Ferguson said he owed a lot to Carol, describing her as a very kind hearted woman who has not only helped him physically after the accident, but has also taken over the reigns of his businesses.

"I should be here in my holiday home with my jet skis, waiting for my children and grand children to turn up," he said.

He praised the support of Shine Lawyers staff.

Shine Lawyers special counsel Craig Oliver said hotels had a duty of care to keep their patrons safe at all times.

"In this case the Capricorn Tavern has breached that duty by not adequately maintaining their most basic of bar equipment," Mr Oliver said.

"Brian's fall was an accident waiting to happen. Through no fault of his own, his life has been affected by significant physical and psychological injuries.

"A previously active man on land and sea, his happy and bright life has been turned upside down and he deserves to be fairly compensated for the misery he has suffered."

The owners of Capricorn Tavern declined to comment at this stage of the legal proceedings.



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