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Public liability services

Public Liability Claims

Our Public Liability Services


Occupiers Liability

A business owner, government authority or householder may be liable in negligence to persons suffering injury as a result of a slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. There must be an unreasonable failure to remove slip or trip hazards from floors or stairways of the business, government or household premises. A supermarket operator may be liable in negligence for failing to arrange for cleaners to routinely inspect floors and remove spillages or erect warning signs.

An occupier of premises will not be liable in negligence under the civil liability legislation for failing to warn of the presence of slip or trip hazards that represent an “obvious risk.”

This area of law is complex and each public liability case will require a careful analysis of the facts and circumstances before proceedings are commenced.

Recreational & Sporting Accidents

A claim in negligence against organisations or associations arising from injuries sustained in the course of sporting or recreational events has been significantly restricted by the civil liability legislation. No liability will arise where injury results from the materialisation of an ‘obvious risk’ in the course of a ‘dangerous recreational activity’ such as falling from a horse during an organised horse riding event.

No duty of care will arise in relation to a risk of injury of a recreational activity that is the subject of a written or oral warning provided by the association. Nevertheless, liability will still arise in some circumstances such as against personal trainers for injuries sustained in the course of training sessions. Fitness clubs will generally seek to avoid liability for injuries sustained in these circumstances by relying on written risk warnings as well as contractual waivers of liability in membership terms.

In many organised sporting events however, even if a claim might not be available in negligence, you might find that there is a specific sporting injury insurance policy available to cover some losses suffered by an injured participant.

Animal Attacks

A person injured by an animal such as a dog bite may bring a claim in negligence against the owner for failing to properly restrain or control that animal.

The Companion Animals Legislation enables a victim of a dog attack to claim compensation from the owner without proving fault except where the attack occurred on premises where the dog is usually kept.

Council Footpath or Road Incidents

A motorist or pedestrian injured as a result of defects in roads or footpaths may have a claim against a local government authority or RMS for failing to rectify those defects.

The civil liability legislation has limited the availability of claims to those arising from a failure to properly repair defects – misfeasance, rather than a failure to carry out repairs at all – nonfeasance. The distinction is technical and obscure and was introduced to limit the liability of local government authorities in circumstances where budgetary restrictions may prevent routine repairs to roads or footpaths.


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