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Public Liability

If you are injured outside your home, and you need time off work or medical treatment as a result, you may be entitled to make a public liability compensation claim. Owners of public spaces (such as parks, government buildings, and rental properties) have public liability insurance to cover such situations.

What is Public Liability?

When you enter a public place, whether it is a shopping centre or a government building, you have very little opportunity to ensure your own safety. You are not able to ensure that the floors have been properly cleaned so there is no slip hazard, or that the escalator is serviced regularly. Rather, you rely on the person who controls the building or other public space to perform this due diligence. This reliance creates a duty on the part of the person in control of the public space, a duty to make the space reasonably safe for you and other visitors. If they fail in this duty, then they must compensate you for any loss you incur as the result of an avoidable accident.

What Sort of Injuries?

A number of different types of injuries fall under the broad category of public liability. The image that springs to mind is a slip and fall in a shopping centre or public footpaths. However, public liability accidents also include injuries suffered when a product or service is defective, or from an animal attack, physical assault, as well as accidents in school yards and in someone else’s home.

What Can You Claim?

The amount of compensation available under a public liability claim is determined by the nature of the injury sustained, and the financial impact on the injured person. Each case is individual, but broadly speaking a public liability claim will cover medical expenses, nursing and at-home care expenses, loss of current and future earnings, and some allowance for pain and suffering.

You may be entitled to the following benefits from your personal injury:

  • Weekly payments for loss of income for time off work both past and future;
  • Lump sum compensation for permanent impairment;
  • Reimbursement of medical expenses;
  • Future medical costs;
  • Assistance with care and living expenses; both past and future;
  • Costs of rehabilitation.

How Can I Make a Public Liability Claim?

The process of making a public liability claim can be complicated, but there are some basic steps involved in almost every case. The first step is to speak to a lawyer with experience in public liability matters. Time limits apply to these claims, so you should seek out advice as soon as possible after the accident occurs.

Working with your solicitor, you will be required to demonstrate that you have suffered injury or loss. You must then show that the injury or loss was the result of an accident that occurred in a place controlled by someone else, or when using a product or service controlled by someone else. Crucially, you must be able to prove that the person who controlled that space (or product or service) failed to live up to their duty to take care, and that it was this failure that resulted in your injury or loss. Sometimes these requirements are easily satisfied, but in other cases, the other side will vigorously defend their case, especially if large sums of money are involved.

Our team of personal injury lawyers can help with all types of public liability claims including trips and falls, slips and falls, occupier’s liability, and product liability. If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 02 6621 2481 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert legal advice.