The specialist public liability lawyers at Millner and Knight handle all claims according to our no risk guarantee.
What is Public Liability?
Public liability is best epitomised in a global context by the rallying cry #MeToo that has thrust movie mogul Harvey Weinstein into court for a raft of sexual harassment charges, threw film star Bill Cosby into prison for rape and honoured a number of women actors dubbed the ‘Silence Breakers’ on the cover of Time as the magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ for 2017 for “the voices that launched a movement”. But public liability isn’t just about sexual assaults. Broadly defined, it is a legal action seeking damages or compensation against someone else who stands accused of causing you to be injured.
Think you may have a claim? Speak to a local expert today.
Common law responsibilities
Under common law every person, business and organisation have a duty of care to ensure the safety or well-being of others in both private and publicly owned places. However, when this obligation is breached and people suffer injury, or death, as a result of negligence, irresponsibility, recklessness or deliberate inactions, the injured can sue the alleged perpetrator for damages under the public liability domain.
Where do public liability cases occur
The term public liability implies that incidences occur in public places, but in reality, public liabilities can happen just about anywhere. The two notable exceptions are injuries in the workplace, which fall under Workers Compensation, and transport-related accidents, excluding aircraft, trains and boats, which are covered by Motor Vehicle Accidents.
What types of claims do our public liability lawyers handle?
Injuries suffered due to slipping or tripping, where someone else was responsible for ensuring public safety, being attacked by a pet dog, or animal, and being physically attacked by another person(s) are all examples of public liability litigation cases. An aircraft accident-related injury, sexual abuse, including childhood abuse, sporting accidents, defective products causing injuries and injuries on private property, including tenants who rent their homes, are all triggers for public liability claims.
I’ve been injured and want to lodge a public liability case, but what can I claim?
You may be entitled to damages, or compensation, for pain and suffering including a devalued lifestyle and eroded enjoyment of life due to physical or psychological trauma. Loss of past and future earnings, if your ability to work has been affected, medical expenses and costs associated with a loved one sacrificing time to provide care and assistance can also be claimed.
How can I be certain I am eligible to lodge a claim?
It’s highly recommended that if you have any queries about claiming, you contact one of our professional public liability lawyers and present your credentials. We will listen to your story and quickly advise on whether we think you can take things further by pursuing damages. Ultimately, your case will sink or swim on your ability to show that your injury resulted from someone else not taking the right caution or neglecting to secure your safety.
But if you do claim, be decisive
Time waits for no man and especially when it comes to lodging a public liability claim. The clock is ticking from the moment you have your accident and sustained your injury, at which point you should, if possible, be proactive and start collecting evidence that could prove to be important later on. With time, memories become clouded and original notes, made at the scene of the accident or
shortly thereafter, could tip a winning claim in your favour. Bringing a professional lawyer onboard to advise and drive your claim will not only enhance your prospects of a successful outcome, it is also likely to expedite a process that can be long and frustrating.
How long is the process likely to take from start to end
Each case is unique, so a public liability case could stretch from months to three or more years, depending on the severity and nature of your injuries and how the other party responds to your claim. Businesses and property owners who rent to tenants are required to be covered by public liability insurance, thus most compensation claims are brought against insurance companies.
What does the entire process entail?
At your first appointment with a lawyer specialising in public liability claims, we will advise you on your best path forward and give you an opportunity to discuss your claim and any misgivings you may have. Assuming you choose to pursue a claim, we will take you through the entire process before beginning to collect evidence, obtain reports and arrange further appointments in a bid to make your case as strong as possible. We will arrange a medical examination to establish your degree of pain and suffering and your entitlement to compensation. Most cases are resolved without having to go to court as an agreement is reached between the claimant and plaintiff.
What are the most common public liability claims lodged in Australia?
The most common claims are for injuries suffered in parks, leisure centres and public places due to slips, trips and falls. Back, neck and psychological injuries are frequently cited and injuries in rental premises, private buildings, such as shopping centre, and dog attacks, injuries in schoolyards, fun parks and recreational and sports facilities also feature prominently.
Cutting to the chase, how will compensation for a successful claim ultimately be determined?
Once again, we cannot overemphasise the importance of engaging a lawyer as soon as possible to facilitate a stronger case driven by a professional who understands the nuances and subtleties of public liability legislation. In Queensland and Western Australia, claims are typically calculated from an evaluation of the type and severity of injury suffered. The monetary value awarded is ultimately calculated on the basis of your likely career and financial path before the accident, juxtaposed with the subsequent career, economic and lifestyle change realities after the injury.