We all have the right to be safe in public, and when we leave home each day, we don’t expect to be injured. But no matter how careful we are, accidents can and do happen.
As a public liability lawyer, I’m often surprised that people who are injured when they’re out and about don’t know their legal rights if someone else is responsible for that injury.
Public liability law covers a wide range of circumstances where someone was injured or died because of the owner or occupier’s negligence or failure to take reasonable care.
Slip and falls, school or playground accidents, food poisoning, dog attacks and sporting accidents are just some examples of public liability claims.
There are five important steps which should be taken if you are injured while out and about:
- Take photos of where and how the injury occurred as soon as possible – perhaps using your mobile phone – and ask for help if you need it.
- Take down witness names.
- Ensure you report the incident to the property owner, shop manager or other relevant authority.
- Try to ascertain if there is any CCTV footage taken of the incident.
- Consult a doctor about your injuries as soon as possible, if you haven’t already received treatment at the scene.
If you have been injured, you could be entitled to lump sum compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, lost wages and domestic assistance. Compensation amounts are based on the level of harm or loss you have suffered.
Every state and territory has different laws about our rights to public liability or personal injury compensation. To be able to make a claim, you have to prove the accident was caused by the negligence of the owner or occupier. In most cases, if your claim is successful the insurer of the business or person at fault will pay the claim.
There are strict time limits under the law for making a claim, so it is important that you get legal advice as soon as possible after any injury.