Public Liablity Claims

If you have sustained an injury whilst ‘out and about’, you may be able to make a public liability claim which may entitle you to recover substantial compensation. We have all suffered injury of some kind due to circumstances outside our control, however, it is when these circumstances are due to the negligence of someone else that a claim for compensation arises.

What is a public liability claim?

A public liability claim is a type of personal injury claim if you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person or organisation/entity.

Public liability claims can arise in a number of scenarios, including but not limited to:

  • slip and fall in a public place, for example, in a shop or supermarket;

  • injuries at a school;

  • injuries in a public park;

  • injuries in playgrounds;

  • sporting club and other recreational injuries;

  • injuries in rental properties, including holiday accommodation;

  • injuries at a private property;

  • and more

Sometimes, you might be injured in a public or private place whilst you are outside your normal place of work. In most cases, you will be covered by the relevant worker’s compensation scheme. But you might also be entitled to recover common law damages as well if your worker’s compensation injury was sustained due to another person or entity’s negligence. 

An example of this might be if you were injured whilst walking from your normal place of work, to say, the Post Office or bank. You may have tripped and fallen on some raised footpath that had been reported to the council on a number of occasions before your accident, but they failed to do anything about it.

It doesn’t cost you anything to find out if you have a claim which should be looked into. Seeking legal advice will ensure you receive ALL the compensation you may be entitled to.


Proving public liability

Whether an injury has occurred due to the negligence of someone else can often be a tricky thing to determine. Sometimes it might not be obvious that negligence of another person or entity has caused a personal injury. Indeed, sometimes it might seem as though there has been negligence that has caused an injury, but legally, there will be no entitlement to public liability compensation. 

Every state and territory government in Australia have enacted laws that have curtailed the extent to which ‘public authorities’ are responsible for causing injury to individuals whilst on their land (or roads or footpaths, etc). These laws have not given them a blanket protection from being sued, but they have introduced complex tests to be satisfied (proven) in order to be able to recover compensation for personal injury.

These laws, however, do not apply to private premises, and the standard laws of negligence (and other torts) will apply when considering a claim for compensation for personal injury sustained when at a commercial premises or another private (non-public) place.

Are there time limits to make a public liability claim?

The short answer is ‘most definitely there are time limits to initiate a public liability claim!’

Every state and territory government in Australia have in place what are generally described as ‘limitation of action’ laws. The operation of these ‘limitation’ laws means that, apart from historical child sex abuse actions, every other form of personal injury action must be brought within a certain ‘limitation period’. 

In nearly every state and territory, the ‘limitation period’ which applies to a public liability claim, is 3 years (usually from the date of event which resulted in the personal injury). 

Whilst these limitation laws have provisions to extend the basic limitation period, which applies to any personal injury case, you do not want to rely on these 'extension of time provisions’. Delays in pursuing your common law rights to recover compensation for your injuries if sustained due to another person/entity’s negligence can impact the success of your claim. 

Further, each state and territory has their own procedural requirements that need to be observed by the claimant. Some of these procedural requirements have their own specific time-frames, which need to be adhered to by claimants.

It is, therefore, very important that legal advice is obtained from an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following an event in circumstances where it seems that the injury resulted from a failure to exercise reasonable care on the part of someone else (or some other entity).


What compensation is payable in a successful public liability claim?

There is a range of benefits and compensation available if your public liability claim is successful.

Loss of income – weekly payments

Anyone injured in a public place due to the negligence of another person or organisation/entity is entitled to recover lost earnings due to not being able to work because of their injuries. This can be a substantial amount, especially if the injuries will adversely affect their ability to earn income into the future.

Medical and rehabilitation expenses

Medical and like expenses can quickly add up if you’ve been injured. It doesn’t matter if you have private health insurance to cover some or all of these expenses, medical expenses are still a very important aspect of any claim for compensation after an injury in a public or private place. Depending on the nature and extent of the injuries, these expenses can add up quickly and sometimes continue well into the future

Domestic and carer's assistance/help

Again, depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, sometimes the injured person will require assistance from family and/or friends in relation to everyday tasks and activities. If such assistance is significant, then the injured person will be able to recover compensation for such care they have received. This can also be claimed into the future.

Pain and suffering – lump sum compensation

Anyone seeking compensation for a personal injury is entitled to recover compensation for the pain and suffering and adverse impact their injuries have had upon them generally. It doesn’t matter how minor the injuries are, they are entitled to an amount of compensation based on the nature and extent and overall impact their injuries have had upon them.

Get help from a public liability lawyer

If you suffer an injury when ‘out and about’, and it is not covered by the relevant motor vehicle accident law, then you should consult with a lawyer experienced in ‘general liability’ (sometimes referred to as ‘public liability’) claims. 

Our experienced personal injury compensation lawyers will be able to advise you straight away whether the circumstances of your injury should be further investigated to see if you are entitled to substantial damages with a public/private liability claim.

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