*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in South Australia.

Footpaths and walkways are a critical part of our infrastructure, which allow walkers to access local destinations and public transport. Footpaths are particularly vital for elderly citizens to access community services. Whether it is uneven concrete, crumbling pavers, or tree roots disrupting the ground, our safe walking paths are often not so safe. But what can you do if you injure yourself after a fall on a footpath?

Private vs Public Areas

If the fall happened on private property, such as a footpath in a supermarket car park, you may be able to claim compensation for the injury, loss and damage that you have suffered.

However, if the fall happened on public property belonging to your local council, the answer becomes more complex. In 2004, the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA) was amended so that road authorities (including councils) are not liable for a failure to maintain, repair or renew a “road”.

The definition of a “road” includes a street, thoroughfare, road, bridge, busway, alley, laneway, walkway, carpark, footpath or other structure associated with a road.

While the change in 2004 provided immunity to the councils, this immunity was only for failure to maintain, repair and renew – this means that if there has been an act by the council that damages the footpath, causing you injury, you may be able to claim. This may include situations where a council arranges for construction to occur on a footpath, which then causes you to suffer injury.

There is a 3 year time limit for all personal injury claims in South Australia, so it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible to determine whether there is any avenue to claim, and who the potential claim would be brought against.

For further information about general public liability claims, please read more here: Slips, Trips and Falls: Making a Public Liability Claim.

Call our personal injury lawyers on 8213 1000 to discuss the circumstances of you injure yourself as a result of a fall. We act on a no win no fee basis, and will have a no obligation discussion with you about your injuries.