A wedding photographer in Australia is suing a wedding venue and styling company after she slipped on a piece of fabric and broke her knee. She claims that the injury has affected both the personal and business aspects of her life. So, she’s suing the venue and the company for more than $570,000 AUD.
The incident occurred in 2017 when photographer Bernadette Draffin was shooting a wedding in Queensland. She reportedly slipped on a sash which should have been tied around a chair. The photographer told Daily Mail Australia that the fall caused her knee to shatter in four places, which required surgery and long-term physiotherapy.
According to Draffin, the injury took its toll on both her family and her business. “My whole mood changed. My husband had to help me with everything and my relationship with my daughters deteriorated,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
Naturally, it also limited her in terms of working as a photographer. First, she had to cancel all bookings during her recovery period, which affected both her income and her rating from the couples who were affected. Draffin says that she still can’t shoot more than one wedding per week, and she has to hire an assistant. “That is at least $1,500 per wedding that I’m paying somebody that I never needed to do before,” she said. For comparison, before the injury she would reportedly shoot eight weddings a month, charging up to $10,000 per wedding.
It’s worth noting that the photographer claims that staff at the venue was warned about the fabric on the floor and that it could be dangerous. She claims that they’d been instructed to pick the fabric up. According to Daily Mail Australia, she also believes that stylists didn’t do enough to secure the sashes to the backs of chairs in the first place.
Because of her financial losses and emotional burden, Draffin is suing the venue and the styling company for $577,164 AUD (that’s around $39,600 USD). Her claim includes $100,000 for lost income and another $258,030 for loss of potential future income.
Draffin’s lawyer, James Hickman, firmly believes that the photographer will win the case. “If nothing else, I hope this accident will serve as a cautionary tale to all companies involved in wedding planning to be extra vigilant about the safety of their guests,” he told The Courier Mail.
I don’t know how much chance the photographer has of winning this case, but subjectively speaking, it seems to me that she does. Use this story as a reminder to be as careful as you can, so you can avoid incidents and lawsuits in the first place. But also think about getting liability insurance as a photographer. Because if this had been a guest you posed, if they fell and got hurt- they’d likely go after you.