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Gaius Whiffin providing Q & A on 2GB discussing Personal Injury – 27 February 2021

Gaius Whiffin providing Q & A on the 2GB Chris Smith Morning Show discussing "Personal Injury" 27 February 2021

Tuesday, 27 February 2021 


CM – Chris Smith / GW – Gaius Whiffin –   C1, 2, 3, etc – Callers


Listen to the Podcast

Read the transcript below:

CM     I’ve got Gaius Whiffin on the line right now from Turner Freeman Layers. Hi there Gaius.

GW     G’day Chris. How are you?

CM     I’m very well. We’ve got a stack of emails that are coming through for Turner Freeman. David sent us a message and his story is short in this way – he slipped on washing up liquid in his local supermarket and has needed shoulder surgery – the supermarket has offered to pay his medical expenses for the surgery – should he just accept that?

GW     Chris, this is common with supermarkets and shopping centres. They’ll often – if you have an injury there, they’ll often agree to pay your medical expenses – they’ll make you sign a deed which prevents you from making any further claims at all. Considering that David’s had that surgery, he should probably seek some legal advice before he accepts the offer of the insurer – he may have other entitlements and if he accepts that offer, he gives up those entitlements.

CM     Alright, so in the fine print – they could get you to sign that the fact that the employer will cover you for the surgery, but you don’t know what else you’re not entitled to.

GW     Yeah – but that’s right. I mean at the end of the day, he may have other entitlements which he’s giving up by signing the documents the insurer will want him to sign.

CM     Now, while we’re talking about public liability claims, what restrictions are there on claiming compensation?

GW     Well in David’s situation, it really depends upon what he slipped on and the method of cleaning and inspection that the supermarket has.  The High Court has said generally its reasonable if there’s a system of inspection, cleaning of about every 20 minutes or so. So if a supermarket can show that their staff looked at a particular area where someone slipped every 20 minutes or so, then they are doing the right thing and there’s probably going to be no public liability claim. You see, a supermarket can’t be liable if for example, some kids are having an ice-cream, spills it, until 3 minutes later before they’ve had a chance to clean it up, you come along and slip on it. So it really depends upon the system of cleaning, how long – if they can prove that the – whatever you slipped on was there for less than say 20 minutes, then there probably is a very difficult case.

CM     So some of the cases could get down to the point where Judges have to decide about whether 2 minutes or 3 minutes is long enough to allow the supermarket to clean up the mess?

GW     Yeah – well probably, they’re given a lot longer than that.

CM     And James has asked if a public liability insurer will make ongoing payments or just pay a lump sum.

GW     No it’s only a lump sum. Very rarely do you get them to pay for say David’s surgery before he will accept a final settlement. So, it’s different from workers compensation and so forth in that respect.

CM     Right okay. Good information. Gaius Whiffin. Thank you very much for your time.

GW     Excellent. Thanks Chris.


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