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Party host faces $18m claims over burns

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 By Tracey Ferrier

A Queensland woman accused of failing to properly supervise a party where two teens were horribly burned is facing damages claims totalling more than $18 million.

Matthew Richards and Paris Turkington were aged 15 and 16 when they were engulfed in flames after an accelerant was poured on a fire at a Toowoomba house party in 2013.

Mr Richards, who's now 18, says his injuries ended his dream of becoming a physiotherapist, derailed his studies and led to him having to endure 11 painful operations.

He's claiming $6.5 million against the woman's home and contents insurance policy, alleging her supervision of the party was neglectful.

Last month by Ms Turkington, now 19, lodged a similar claim for $11.8 million. She suffered third-degree burns to more than 40 per cent of her body.

Mr Richards said in a statement on Friday, "I was in hospital for 36 days, I've had 11 surgeries so far and physio three times a week for two years.

"I wanted to be a physio but the burns mean I have lost the strength in my hands that the job requires so that opportunity is gone. I am currently working in a pub behind the bar. I am not sure what I want to do with my life now."

Jillian Barrett, from the law firm Maurice Blackburn, is representing both victims and says the woman who hosted the party is lucky she had home and contents insurance.

"A lot of people don't realise home and contents doesn't just protect your belongings. It also protects the people you invite into your home as well," she told AAP.

Ms Barrett said the woman's insurer was fighting Ms Turkington's claim, and both claims may end up being settled by a judge.

"They are denying that the host mother was negligent, they are denying that she was responsible for what's happened, and they are also denying the amount of compensation," she said.

"Both matters are progressing towards trial, if that's ultimately what has to happen."

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