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Public Liability Claims

Public Liability Claims


Accidents in a Public Place

A public liability claim, is also sometimes referred to as an occupier’s liability claim, and can be made when an accident occurs in a public place or on somebody else’s property.

A public liability claim may arise in a wide variety of circumstances where a person suffers injury as a result of the failure of another person, government authority or business operator to take reasonable care for that person’s safety. It is necessary to be able to prove that the injury was caused as a result of the negligence of another although legislation has been passed to eliminate the need to prove fault in some circumstances and to restrict the availability of claims in negligence in others.

Any court proceedings must be commenced within three years from the date of the accident.

Commonly these claims are against Shopping Centres or supermarkets, business owners, local Councils or other government organisations where high volume pedestrian traffic result in injuries from a slip, trip or fall; or food poisoning in areas where there is a food service, or individuals such as neighbours.

For a case to be successful, it needs to be proven that the injury was caused by the Occupiers negligence.

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Some examples of public liability claims include:

  • Slipping on contaminants in a shopping centre and falling.
  • Tripping on uneven pavement or concreting on the footpath, or tripping and falling in potholes in car parks where there may be uneven ground.
  • Stepping in a pothole on somebody’s lawn.
  • A neighbours pet, such as a dog, attacks you.

Who pays for medical expenses?

Unlike other compensation schemes, there is no obligation on the person or organisation identified at fault to pay medical expenses or loss of wages whilst you are off work and recovering from your injuries. This means many of these cases have to be litigated in Court.

For a negligence claim to be successful, it generally requires the injured person to prove the following steps:

  1. That there was a duty of care owed
  2. That the duty of care was breached by the relevant occupier
  3. That the breach caused an injury
  4. And that the injury resulted in a loss

Those four elements as referred to above comprise the basic elements of negligence.

What will I be compensated for?

The purpose of the law is to put a person who has suffered injury as a result of someone else’s negligence back in the position they would have been, but for that negligence. The only means the law has for doing this is financial compensation.

If negligence is proven, then there will be compensation payable. The losses also need to be proven but damages or “compensation” can be claimed for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of wages and future loss of earning capacity.
  • Medical expenses and future medical expenses if required.
  • Personal care and domestic assistance required and including care or assistance provided by family members

There is a significant amount of legal expertise required with the successful running of these cases and the lawyers at Turner Freeman are specialists in this area and will be able to expertly assist you with your claim from the time you are injured until finality by way of settlement or judgment.

Strict time limits apply to public liability claims and it is important to get the right advice immediately.


Leading Public Liability Lawyers in Australia

We have proven to be the best work injury lawyers with 3 of our lawyers named recommended Leading Public Liability Lawyers in NSW and QLD.

Recommended Public Liability lawyer for2020 | Turner Freeman Lawyers

Richard Dababneh, Doyles Recommended Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers 2020 – Turner Freeman Lawyers

Fady Dous, Doyles Recommended Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers 2020 – Turner Freeman Lawyers

Harry Dignan, Doyles Leading Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers 2020 – Turner Freeman Lawyers


Frequently asked questions

What is the fee policy in public liability claims?

What is the fee policy in public liability claims?

Turner Freeman Lawyers No Win No Fee Personal Injury logo

For personal injury claims in Australia we act for our clients on a ‘No Win-No Fee’ basis. So in other words unless we recover compensation for our client, we will not charge for our work. Be sure to ask one of our lawyers if you have any questions regarding our fee policy, as conditions do apply.

Contact us

Our NSW offices are in Sydney, Parramatta, Campbelltown, Newcastle, Penrith, Wollongong, Toronto and Gloucester.

Our Queensland offices are in BrisbaneLoganNorth LakesIpswichToowoombaGold CoastSunshine Coast and Cairns.

Our South Australian offices are in Adelaide CBD and Whyalla.

Our Western Australia office is in Perth.

What do I do if I am injured in a public place?

What do I do if I am injured in a public place?

You should immediately seek to report the incident to the owner, store manager, centre management, or government authority/council. This might involve completing an incident report or form.  You should also consider taking photographs of the area where you were injured. Of course you should also immediately seek medical attention. It is also important that you contact a lawyer for some preliminary advice about your rights and what you should do going forward.

What can I claim?

What can I claim?

If you are successful in a claim, you will be awarded damages representing your loss of income and possible loss of future income, reimbursement of your treatment expenses in the past and an amount for likely future treatment expenses, an amount to cover the care or domestic assistance you may have required and might need in the future and also in some cases, for your pain and suffering.

Does it matter if the injury happened in a public place or on private property?

Does it matter if the injury happened in a public place or on private property?

It shouldn’t. A claim can be made if you have been injured on private or public property. In most cases, the owner of the property (private or public) will have a policy of public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance or some other relative business insurance for these types of accidents.

Are there any time limits?

Are there any time limits?

Yes. In most cases proceedings are required to be commenced in court within 3 years from the date of the incident. In some circumstances, you can seek to bring the case outside of this 3 year period with leave of a Court.

How long will my claim take?

How long does a public liability claim take?

If we advise that you have reasonable prospects of success and that the claim is economically worthwhile to purse, we will send you a proper written advice and proposal. Our proposal will set out, in plain English, a realistic estimate of how long we believe your case will take to resolve and the likely cost.

Generally speaking, most product or public liability claims are resolved within 6 to 18 months from when the claim starts. If the case goes to trial (which is highly unlikely) this can add a further 6 to 12 months to the time estimate.

How much does it cost to make a public liability compensation claim?

How much does it cost to make a public liability compensation claim?

If your case has to go to court, it will cost more than if it settles at an early stage. The more work which is done results in higher fees; however, we always do whatever we can to keep costs as low as possible. All of this is explained in our written advice along with realistic and reliable fee estimates.


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