It goes without saying that your health and wellbeing should be of utmost importance after being injured in a public place. Assuming you are all well and good after the incident, what is available to you in terms of legal redress?
Public injury compensation
Public Liability law is the area of law that covers injury claims arising from accidents in public places. However, not all accidents in public are covered by public liability. For example, if you become injured on the road, or in the line of work whilst working in public then you would likely be covered by motor vehicle law or workers compensation law.
Also if you become injured in public doing something like surfing or skateboarding, there’s likely no form of redress unless you can prove someone owed you a duty of care or was responsible for causing the accident.
So what type of accidents in public places fall under Public liability?
To put it simply any types of accidents or injuries can fall under public law. In Australia, the owner of any public place has a legal duty minimise the risk of accidents and injuries. Some of the most common types of public places where people become injured include:
- Shops, supermarkets and shopping complexes
- train and bus stations, garages, car parks, petrol stations and taxi ranks
- Fitness centres, gymnasiums, and swimming pools
- Poorly maintained roads, pavements, footpaths, and unsafe road works
- Theme parks or amusement centres
- Construction and building sites
- schools, TAFEs and universities
- bars, clubs, restaurants, and pubs
- Movie theatres, arcades, and outdoor sporting venues
Who do you make a public injury claim against?
To make a claim you generally need to prove that at the time of the accident that caused your injury a duty of care had been breached. However, it can prove extremely difficult for a normal member of the public without any legal authority to find the person or organisation who owed you that ‘duty of care.’ Many victims who try to pursue compensation find themself playing the ‘blame game.’
What is the blame game?
The clue is in the name, however, it may be easier to work backwards to give you a better understanding and illustrate how it works.
Ok here it goes, the owner of a 5 storey building leases the property to another business who subleases it to another. The sub lesser then leases out all the individual floors to 5 individual businesses. Each floor has 5 individual offices/shops located on them and they are all leased out separately too. All the corridors, lifts and staircases may be managed by a strata company and any outside areas may belong to the landlord or the council. They all, of course, have their own insurance.
As you can see there would be a lot of potential people to blame if you slipped and fell in the hypothetical building listed above.