Can I make a claim if I get injured in a public place?

If you get injured in a public place it’s important to know your rights to make a public accident claim to receive fair compensation. In Victoria, as with personal injury claims in other states, different laws and limitation periods apply for certain injuries. It’s also important to know that other laws apply if you get injured at work (workers’ compensation) or on the road (transport accident claims). Special laws also apply where the injury has been suffered in a plane. All types of claims Public accident claims are many and varied and can include:

  • Slips, trips and falls in supermarkets, shopping centres, retail centres, cinemas, hotels, car parks or other commercial premises
  • Accidents occurring on footpaths or other public spaces
  • Land/tenant claims (occupiers’ liability)
  • Accidents occurring at schools, parks or playgrounds
  • Claims against hotels and clubs
  • Claims against schools
  • Boat and jet-ski accidents
  • Recreational accidents or sporting injuries suffered by participants of sporting activities
  • Accidents occurring at fun parks, swimming pools, recreational facilities
  • Dog bites.

When should I make a claim? In Victoria, an injured person usually has a three-year limitation period to commence proceedings (a common law claim for damages), commencing from the date of the injury. In some very limited circumstances, the time starts to run from the date the injury becomes discoverable—three years from when you first become aware of the negligence that caused your injury. This extended time limit applies to cancer injuries or other injuries with long latency periods. Given that the limitation periods can vary, it’s important to seek legal advice early. Significant injury In order to be entitled to bring a claim for general damages and to be compensated, you will need to be assessed by an approved medical practitioner as having a ‘significant injury’. A ‘significant injury’ is defined as having the following impairments:

  • Physical injuries require a more than five percent whole person physical impairment
  • Psychiatric injuries require more than ten percent whole person impairment
  • Loss of a limb
  • Loss of a foetus.

The threshold tests do not apply to claims for income loss and medical expenses. What can I claim? If your injury meets the threshold, you may be entitled to compensation for past, present and future expenses. This includes:

  • Loss of wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical treatment, including expenses associated with surgery and rehabilitation
  • Out of pocket expenses, including domestic cleaning, gardening assistance and travel expenses.

If you’ve suffered a significant injury in a public place, please contact the public liability lawyers at Henry Carus + Associates today for more information and legal advice about your individual options and particular circumstances.