Public liability lawyers can help you pursue compensation for injuries sustained in a public place. Private landowners, businesses and local governments can be held liable if their negligence causes you harm, but it is important to have a full understanding of your rights.
Henry Carus + Associates have extensive experience with public liability claims. We have an in-depth understanding of the laws that govern public liability, as well as extensive experience taking on insurance companies.
Our depth of experience starts with our Henry Carus, who has practised in the public liability field since he commenced practice in 1983, working over the last 40 years for insurance companies, both in-house and with private defence firms, in NYC and Australia, and with plaintiff injury firms in NYC and Australia. His experience spans the full scope of public liability litigation.
Call 03 9001 1318 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Our public liability lawyers have helped clients in Melbourne and throughout Victoria pursue successful claims.
What Is an Example of a Public Liability Claim?
Many different incidents in public places can cause injury. Perhaps the most common example, however, is a slip and fall accident.
Say you are walking through the aisle of a supermarket and you suddenly lose your footing and fall to the ground. On inspecting the floor, you realise there was spilled liquid in your path. No signs were posted to warn you of the danger, and you are in pain. A visit to the doctor reveals that you suffered injuries to your back and hips. In this example, you could lodge a claim for compensation against the store’s public liability insurance.
Public accidents can take on many different forms. It is important to consult a lawyer if you are injured as a result of any of the following:
- Slips, trips and falls in shopping centres, retail centres, cinemas, hotels, car parks or on any other commercial premises
- Balcony collapse accidents
- Accidents occurring on footpaths or other public spaces
- Injuries sustained on residential properties, in apartment complexes, etc.
- Accidents occurring at schools, parks or playgrounds
- Boat and jet-ski accidents
- Recreational accidents or sporting injuries suffered by participants of sporting activities
- Accidents occurring at fun parks, swimming pools and recreational facilities
- Dog bites
Injuries sustained on aeroplanes are also covered by public liability but separately under the Civil Aviation Act with a more limited time period to seek compensation. Ultimately, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible if you were injured in any kind of public place.
When Should I Make a Claim?
Public liability claims are subject to the same limitation period as other types of personal injury actions in VIC. According to the Limitation of Actions Act 1958 Section 27D, claims for common law damages must be brought no more than 3 years from the date the injury is discovered. Typically, this is either (a) the date of the accident or (b) the date the injury was diagnosed.
You should not wait to make a claim if you were injured in a public place through no fault of your own. Public liability lawyers can evaluate your claim and take prompt legal action on your behalf.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Public Liability Claim?
If the evidence shows that the owner of the property was negligent and this negligence led to your injuries, you can lodge a claim for common law personal injury damages. You may be entitled to compensation for the following losses:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Counselling and support services
- The cost of household care and assistance
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of amenities
Non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) may only be recovered if you suffer what is defined by law as a ‘significant injury’. An injury is considered ‘significant’ if it meets the threshold for permanent impairment established by the Wrongs Act 1958:
‘(a) in the case of injury (other than psychiatric injury or spinal injury), impairment of more than 5 per cent;
‘(b) in the case of psychiatric injury, impairment of 10 per cent or more;
‘(c) in the case of spinal injury, impairment of 5 per cent or more.’– Wrongs Act 1958 S. 28LB
How Is a Significant Injury Assessed?
Permanent impairment must be assessed by an approved medical practitioner in accordance with legally accepted guidelines. The practitioner will issue a certificate of assessment that states whether the claimant’s injuries meet the degree of impairment necessary to claim non-economic damages.
If you claim damages for non-economic loss in a public liability matter, a copy of the certificate of assessment must be served to the defendant. Public liability lawyers can assist you with this process, as well as any disputes that may arise (such as referral of a question concerning significant injury to a Medical Panel or, if necessary, bringing a proceeding to court).
Read More: How Do Public Liability Claims Work?
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Public Place
Being injured in public is a stressful and unpleasant experience. In addition to preserving your health and well-being, it is important to take steps to protect your legal rights.
You should do the following after an accident on someone else’s property:
- Seek medical attention for your injuries. This may involve going to hospital immediately or seeing a doctor on your own after leaving the scene.
- Collect evidence. If you aren’t too badly hurt and you are able to move around the premises safely, try to take photographs and/or make notes of any dangerous conditions.
- Speak to witnesses. Eyewitness testimony can provide critical support for a claim of negligence against the property owner.
- Report the accident. Either inform the property owner verbally or, if a procedure is in place, fill out an accident report and submit it to the owner.
- Consult a lawyer. You should not try to handle a public liability claim on your own. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate all aspects of your claim, such as reviewing your medical records and preparing your case, negotiating a favourable settlement with the insurance company, etc.
Proof of a property owner’s negligence often doesn’t last long. This, combined with the strict time limit for lodging a claim, makes it vitally important to seek legal counsel promptly.
How Our Public Liability Lawyers Can Help
The owners of public and private property have an obligation to ensure the premises are reasonably safe for visitors. When they fail in this duty, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Public liability lawyers at Henry Carus + Associates have the knowledge, skill, resources and experience to advocate effectively for those who have been injured in public places. You Deserve More, and our firm is committed to maximising your compensation.
We investigate public accidents immediately to determine if the property owner was at fault. Our lawyers also calculate the full extent of damages you are due and explore all avenues for a successful outcome.