Public liability claims in NSW

Many people do not realise that they may be entitled to compensation after sustaining injuries that are included in what is described as a ‘public liability’ claim.

If you have sustained a personal injury in a public place like a shopping centre, restaurant or pub it can be quite traumatic, particularly if the injury sustained keeps you out of work and renders it difficult to remain active and on top of that is painful and restricts your mobility.

In these circumstances commencing a compensation claim may be essential.

What is commonly called a public liability claim

In this article we will explain the types of incidents that commonly fall within what could be called a ‘public liability’ claim.

A claim for personal injury due to this type of claim is governed by the Civil Liability Act 2002.

The owner of the shopping centre, pub or restaurant or the concerned local authority should ensure the safety of the general public from such accidents by adopting appropriate measures to minimise risks.   If they fail in this obligation, they may be legally liable for the injury.

Typically these claims include (but are not limited to):

  • Slip and fall accidents in clubs, pubs and restaurants;
  • Slip and fall accidents in public places such as footpaths, parks, roads etc
  • Slip and fall accidents in retail premises such as supermarkets, food courts, car parks or other retail outlets;
  • Sporting injuries sustained due to faulty or defective playing surfaces;
  • Trip accidents;
  • Injuries sustained in public buildings or private premises;
  • Golf course injuries;
  • Injuries whilst using a lift or escalators or stairs etc.
  • Animal attacks including dog bites;
  • Boat accidents; or
  • Food poisoning.

The important thing for you if you are a victim of this type of accident is to make sure you know what your legal rights are if you feel you might be entitled to make a claim.

What can you claim?

It is important that you seek legal help from a specialised practitioner in this field so you gain an understanding of the chances of success and whether you have a right to make a claim or not.

If the other party is found to be negligent then the person sustaining or suffering an injury owing to slip, trip or fall in public places, may be entitled to claim monetary compensation for the following:

  • Pain and suffering from the injuries sustained;
  • Cost of domestic assistance:
    • Care and help provided by friends or family
    • Nursing care and other paid care including lawn mowing, cleaning/ domestic assistance;
  • Past and future medical expenses, including
    • Doctor’s fees;
    • Cost of surgery,
    • Physiotherapy;
    • Nursing and attendant care;
  • Past and future loss of earnings (including loss of superannuation)

What are the time limits to make a claim?

A Public Liability claim should be commenced in court within three years from the date of the accident.  The court case does not have to be completed within three years.

What you should do if you have had such an injury

  • Try and get the name and contact number of any witnesses to your accident;
  • Take a photo of the scene of the accident;
  • If you are badly injured, call an ambulance – the paramedics will properly record your accident.

You should report the accident and the injury sustained either to the owner or to the concerned person of the business place where the accident took place.  Ideally this should be done at the time the injury occurs or as close as possible.

We are most experienced in these claims and can help you in getting compensation if you think you are entitled to make a claim.

What we will do for you

  • We offer a free case assessment.
  • We will properly investigate the case.
  • We will obtain all necessary evidence in support of your claim.
  • If we believe you have a viable claim and you instruct us, we will act for you on a “no win/no pay” basis.
  • We will endeavour to resolve your case without resort to litigation.
  • If the case cannot be resolved unlitigated, we will prosecute your claim honestly and professionally.

Talk to a specialist

For a confidential, free case assessment, please call us on 02 6621 2481 at Lismore, Ballina on 02 6686 2522 or Byron Bay on 02 6680 8525, email advice@sll.com.au or contact us online.