Public Liability doesn't just cover incidents that happen in public places. Things like slips or trips on a badly paved public walking path are certainly covered, but many incidents that don’t necessarily occur in a public place are also covered.
Any injury that has happened because another party has breached their duty of care towards you may fall under the umbrella of Public Liability.
Some common examples include:
Slips, trips and falls on public or private property
Unsafe premises (such as balconies, stairs or walking surfaces)
Dog or animal attacks
Sexual assaults or sexual abuse (including historical trauma such as childhood abuse)
Defective products or services
Sporting accidents (including recreational and adventure activities)
Injuries on private property including rental properties
Health and fitness injuries (such as massage or personal training)
While your employer may be responsible for your safety at work, injuries sustained in the workplace are not categorised as Public Liability. These injuries fall under Workers' Compensation.
Similarly, injured drivers, pedestrians and public transport users are all protected by a duty of care, but these injuries fall under Motor Vehicle Accidents.
National Practice Group Leader Barrie Woollacott explains what is, and isn't, defined as a public liability claim
Find out if you're eligible
If you can show that your injury occurred in a situation where someone else didn’t take the right amount of care, and your injury is of sufficient seriousness, you may be able to claim compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important that you begin gathering evidence straight away. It’s also important to get legal advice as soon as possible so you know what you might be entitled to.
You only have one opportunity to obtain compensation – so you need to have the best possible legal team with the most experience to make sure that you get the best possible outcome the law will allow.
Don’t get a lawyer without Public Liability law experience to handle your claim as this will often result in a poor result with less compensation than you may be entitled to receive.
If you've been injured, you may be entitled to:
Compensation for pain and suffering, as well as loss of enjoyment of life caused by physical injury, psychological injury or both
Past loss of earnings
Loss of future earnings, or loss of earnings if your capacity to work is affected
Past and future medical and related treatment and care expenses
The past and future costs associated with the care you have been provided by loved ones on a voluntary basis (e.g. if a family member gives up their time to provide care and assistance to you while you are incapacitated)
Past and future damages for the loss of capacity to provide voluntary care to dependents (e.g. if your injury prevents you from caring for someone who depends on you).
We are your expert Public Liability lawyers
With over 60 years’ combined experience in fighting Public Liability claims successfully, you can be confident that we've dealt with a case like yours before. We understand the process so intricately that we know exactly how to help make the law work successfully for you.
We also know how to avoid the traps and difficulties that lawyers and insurers on the other side will use to prevent you from being compensated. Let us help you get the compensation you're entitled to.
We settle almost all of our cases outside of court
Due to our extensive experience, almost of our cases are settled without the need to go to court. And it’s not just bigger cases that settle outside court, it’s all types. But if necessary, we will take the fight into court for you with the best, most experienced team possible to ensure you receive what you're entitled to.
The largest and most skilled Public Liability team in Victoria
We have the largest and most experienced Public Liability practice in Victoria, as well as lawyers in most other states. This means that if you are injured anywhere in Australia, or even overseas, we have a lawyer near you that can look after your claim. Each lawyer has the backing and support of an Australia-wide network to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.
Free social work services to all clients
We know that dealing with an injury can be a trying time, financially and emotionally. That's why we do everything we can to support our clients through this period. From carefully taking you through every stage of your case, to offering free social work services to those who need it. Our services include counselling, negotiating with services on your behalf, referrals to support groups and community services such as housing, financial and care support and more.
We understand that a personal injury often has a devastating impact on your financial position. Therefore, having to pay legal fees should not be a barrier to you seeking compensation for someone else’s negligence. People with valid claims should be able to have access to justice. That's why we were one of the first law firms to operate on a No Win - No Fee* payment system.
This means that if your case is successful, you will receive compensation and we will be paid for the legal work we have done on your behalf. However, if your case is not successful and you do not receive compensation, then you will not pay any of our legal fees at all.
From time to time, you may incur additional costs throughout your case. For example, we may need to gain access to your medical records or obtain expert reports. This is called a disbursement. You'll know if there are likely to be any additional costs at your free initial appointment. Depending on your capacity to pay, you may not be asked to contribute to the cost of the disbursements.
Facts about fees in a Public Liability case
- If you are unsuccessful, you are not liable to pay any fees, including disbursements. You pay nothing to your lawyer.
- If you are successful, the Australian legal system has a rule where the unsuccessful party is required to pay most, but not all, of the successful party's legal costs (including disbursements).
- Our legal fees are not based on a percentage of your compensation payout. This is common in the United States, but is not permitted in Australia. Our fees are presented upfront and agreed to when you decide to appoint us as your lawyers.
- If the outcome in your case is significantly less than was anticipated, we will review our legal costs. If necessary, we'll reduce those costs to ensure they are fair and proportionate to the end result.
What to expect
Every Public Liability case is different. It could take 12 months or longer depending on the extent and nature of your injuries. How quickly the other party or its insurer responds, as well as their attitude to your claim, may also have an impact on the timeline of your case.
There are a number of stages you might go through during your case. Our expert and caring legal team can guide you through all of them to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
We will give you information to help you decide on the best course of action for you and organise your free initial appointment**.
Attend your free initial appointment**
This gives you the opportunity to find out more about your claim and discuss your options so you can make the best decision for you.
Meet your legal team
The team will take you through everything that follows throughout your entire case.
We'll prepare to take action
We'll gather evidence, obtain reports, organise meetings and appointments, and more. This is how we prepare the strongest case possible.
You will attend a medical examination
We will organise for you to be medically examined for the purposes of establishing your entitlement to pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life damages.
Your case may settle out of court
Generally, most cases are settled out of court. We'll work hard to negotiate the optimal amount of compensation you can receive.
Most cases don't reach this point, and settle at earlier stages. If your case does need to proceed to court however, you can be confident that our team will guide and support you every step of the way.
Superannuation and Disability Insurance claims
If you are no longer performing your normal work duties as a result of your injury, you may be entitled to a disability benefit through your superannuation fund. We can conduct an obligation-free assessment to find out if you may be entitled to a payment.