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Public Liability

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Public Liability Claims

Public liability is part of the law of Tort which focuses on civil wrongs. An injured person can for example sue the owner or occupier of premises under the common law based on negligence for his or her damages. A claim will be successful if it can be shown that the owner/occupier was responsible for the injury by breaching their duty of care. The duty of care to be exercised by an owner or occupier is very complex, but in basic terms is deemed to be the standard by which one would expect to be treated whilst on or in such owner or occupier’s premises.

Therefore, an injury or loss caused to you if you are injured in a private or public place (where you have the right to be safe) may entitle you to receive compensation. A & E Legal’s personal injury lawyers can assist in cases of public liability.

Our experienced solicitors will engage on your behalf (by submitting a claim) with the owner, occupier and/or organisation and/or their insurers for the compensation that you deserve resulting from your personal injury or loss, which should ultimately resolve by settlement or progression to a trial.

Anyone who has been injured as a result of someone’s negligence in a private or public place can lodge a claim for loss and damages.

Injuries sustained vary from case to case, but they may include one or more or all of the following:

  • bruising;
  • puncture wounds;
  • lacerations;
  • nerve and muscle damage;
  • scarring and disfigurement;
  • broken or fractured bones;
  • emotional and psychological trauma.

The law covers a variety of circumstances that may allow you to claim for compensation, a few examples being:

  • playground injuries;
  • play park injuries;
  • slip and falls on Local Government property e.g. the office of your local Shire;
  • tripping on pavers, pavements and sidewalks belonging to the local Shire;
  • falling into unmarked or exposed inspection holes or on excavation sites on Shire property;
  • slip and falls at private residential premises;
  • slip and falls in places where you are invited to shop such as shops, shopping centres etc.,

You can claim for all loss and damage suffered by you, i.e.:

  • past and future loss of earnings;
  • pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life;
  • past and future medical expenses;
  • hospitalisation expenses; and
  • home assistance.

If you are partly to blame for your injuries, you may claim for damages suffered provided that your actions were not illegal at the time. Your claim settlement will be reduced proportionately depending on the percentage of fault attributed to you. Our lawyers will be able to advise if this may be the case.

Anyone who causes or contributes to your injury may be found legally liable and may be required to pay you compensation due to their breach of a duty of care towards you. Normally a Shire, owner or occupier of a premises will also be responsible for the acts and/or omissions of its employees, which is commonly referred to as vicarious liability. In most instances, all Shires, owners and occupiers will have insurance to cover them in the event of a person lodging a public liability claim for personal injury.

A Shire, owner or occupier will have a duty of care towards all persons who they can reasonably foresee will come onto their premises and be harmed in any way.

What should I do?

You should immediately do the following:

  • seek first aid or medical treatment;
  • keep record of all medical attendances and receipts of medical expenses incurred by you;
  • take photographs of your injuries and the scene of the accident;
  • try and obtain the contact particulars of anyone who witnessed the incident;
  • contact A & E Legal’s personal injury lawyers

There are strict time limits to commence a claim in the District Court of Western Australia and normally, if you are an adult, you have 3 years from the date of the personal injury or from the date when you first noticed clinical signs of an injury.

What if it is not me, but my child?

If your child has been injured due to a breach of a Shire’s, owner’s or occupier’s duty of care, different time periods exist and we recommend that you contact us immediately.

Most claims are settled without having to go to Court on trial. However, pre-trial conferences are held at the Court building in a more informal basis and we will be there to represent you through this process.

We will attempt to get through the claim procedure as quickly as possible by seeking the relevant expert medical advice from your doctors to ensure that your claim is settled at the right time. We will answer all your questions about legal costs at the first free consultation with you. However, in the event of a successful resolution of your claim, the Shire, owner or occupier, or their respective insurers will cover most of the costs.

The first consultation is free with no obligation on your part to proceed with our lawyers.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.