Sustaining a personal injury in a public place like a shopping centre, restaurant or pub can be quite traumatic. If the injury sustained keeps a person out of work and renders it difficult for them to remain active, commencing a compensation claim may be essential.

In such cases, the responsibility of such injury caused rests upon the owner of the shopping centre, pub or restaurant or the concerned local authority.

They should ensure safety of the general public from such accidents by adopting appropriate measures to minimise risks. Some common types of accidents in public place include slips, trips and falls.

Personal Injury Claim

Any person sustaining an injury in public place may make a personal injury claim and is entitled to compensation. Compensation may be claimed owing to:

  • Slip and fall accidents in supermarkets, shopping centres, retail centres and on footpaths;
  • Accidents at private residences;
  • Accidents at schools or in parks or playgrounds;
  • Injuries due to defective or faulty products;
  • Animal attacks;
  • Boat accidents; or
  • Food poisoning.

Claimant’s Entitlement To Compensation

If negligence is proved by the person sustaining or suffering an injury owing to slip, trip or fall in public places, they are entitled to claim the following:

  • Medical expenses including doctor’s fees;
  • Cost of surgery, if any;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Nursing and attendant care;
  • Cost of domestic assistance; or
  • Compensation from loss of income and earning capacity.

If a person sustained an injury on their way to or from work or during the course of their work, they are entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits. If a person becomes totally and permanently disabled from an injury, they can make a claim for early release of superannuation funds. In the event the superannuation fund also provides for insurance covering Total and Permanent Disability Compensation Claim (TPD), they can also make a claim for a payout under the TPD insurance policy. The claim will be paid if a certifying doctor is of the opinion that the injured person is unlikely to work again.

Steps For Personal Injury Claim

In order to make a claim for personal injury, a person who has sustained an injury or an accident in a public place owing to slipping or falling should:

  • Report and notify about the accident and the injury sustained either to the owner or to the concerned person of the business place where the accident took place;
  • Lodge a claim with the negligent owner or business insurance company; and
  • Seek legal advice to be aware of their legal rights and entitlements.

Claimant to Establish Proven Ground(S) Of Negligence

However, to establish a claim of compensation, the person must prove wrongful or negligent act or omission of the other party (the owner or the local authority in this case). This means that the person has to prove that the other party:

  • Owed a duty of care to the person; and
  • There was a breach in such duty of care.

Legislation Regulating Personal Injury Claims in New South Wales (NSW)

Each state and territory has its own laws that govern one’s right to claim personal injury and public liability compensation. The main compensation claim laws in NSW are Worker Compensation Claims, Motor Vehicle Accident Claims and Public Liability Claims. A claim for personal injury due to slip or fall is governed by the Civil Liability Act 2002.

Public liability claims for slip and fall include but are not limited to:

  • Slip and fall accidents on public property such as footpaths, parks, roads, boat ramps etc;
  • Slip and fall accidents in retail premises such as supermarkets or retail outlets;
  • Sporting injuries sustained due to faulty or defective sporting equipment or playing surfaces;
  • Injuries sustained in public buildings or private premises; and
  • Toes whilst using a lift or escalators or stairs etc.

A public liability claim arises when a person:

  • Sustains an injury (physical and psychological) due to an accident in a public place;
  • Has been placed out of work owing to such injury; and
  • Has incurred costs for medical treatment and rehabilitation

Damages are awarded for the pain and suffering, loss of income, medical treatment expenses, domestic care and assistance and other losses which may arise in a particular claim. Claim for public liability can be brought within 3 years from the date of occurrence of the accident.

Owen Hodge Lawyers can help you in getting compensation for your claim if you suffer from any accident or injury in public places that prevents you from working in your normal occupation.

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