The WA government says a partial settlement cannot be provided to the family of Denishar Woods, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury from a severe electric shock at a public housing property, while there is potential for legal action.
The 11-year-old girl was shocked with up to 230 volts in March when she touched a garden tap at her family’s Beldon property.
National Indigenous Critical Response Service coordinator Gerry Georgatos on Monday said the WA government had rejected a request for a $3.2 million advance payment on the compensation that will inevitably come the family’s way.
But Attorney General John Quigley said rules did not allow that while there was the potential for the family to take legal action against the state.
“The rules around ex gratia (payments) preclude us from making that while there’s litigation on foot or the prospect of litigation, Mr Quigley told reporters on Tuesday.
Denishar’s mother Lacey Harrison has previously flagged taking the WA government to court if required but said she was waiting for the findings from the investigation by the Building and Energy Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
The state government last month provided cash so the family could buy a specially-modified vehicle to accommodate Denishar’s wheelchair and Mr Quigley said it would provide ongoing ex-gratia payments of up to $250,000 to meet her other day-to-day needs.
“I don’t want to make an ex gratia payment to Denishar Woods that will in any way prejudice the very large payout that she should get,” he said.
“We’re doing act of grace payments to keep things going for her until the substantive claim comes in.”
Mr Quigley said he expected Denishar would get “a lot more” than $3.2 million.
“She should get millions and millions for what’s happened to her,” he said.
“Given her horrendous injuries, one would expect it will be way north of $3 million.
“I want to see Denishar get everything she’s entitled to get.”
He acknowledged she will need care for the rest of her life.
“She’s a hapless victim in all this who just went to turn off a tap at a house, for heavens sake, and has had her life destroyed.
“She’s got to be properly compensated.”