Unfortunately, numerous injuries occur on private property everyday. While these injuries can start off small, such as slipping over something in your local supermarket, they can often lead to more serious injuries such as back, neck or head trauma. Quite often these injuries are actually the fault of another party, such as the occupier of the premises, because they have failed to take the right amount of care. In these cases, it is possible to make them accountable for your injuries, and to receive compensation accordingly.
Read on to find out more about how to make a claim if you get injured on private property, and how you are protected under public liability law.
What is a Public Liability Claim?
Under public liability law, where a negligent party has caused another person to suffer an injury on private property, then the injured person is entitled to make a public liability claim. The negligent party is often the occupier of the premises where the injury occurred. If a public liability claim is successful, the injured person will receive compensation for their injuries.
Some examples of injuries covered by a public liability claims include:
- Slips, trips and falls in supermarkets and other outlets
- Playground and schoolyard injuries
- Sporting injuries
- Injuries from boating accidents
- Dog or other animal attacks
- Physical and sexual assaults
Am I eligible for a Public Liability Claim?
If you have sustained an injury on private property, this alone is not enough to lodge a public liability claim. You injury also needs to be the result of another party’s negligence. For negligence to be established, there are three criteria to be met:
- The party at fault owed you a duty of care.
A duty of care is owed by an occupier of premises towards all the people who they can reasonably foresee will enter the premises. For example, a supermarket will owe a duty of care towards all of its customers. This duty of care means that they must ensure the safety and well-being of others.
- The party at fault breached that duty of care.
A breach of duty of care means that the negligent party has not taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those to which they owe a duty of care. For example, where supermarkets deviate from reasonable practices, such not having floors cleaned from spillage or not having warning signs or barriers placed around potential hazards, this will constitute a breach.
- You were injured or suffered loss as a result of the breach of duty of care.
This includes physical or psychological injuries, damages to property or economic loss.
How do I make a Public Liability Claim?
- Report your injury to the negligent party and keep any records of communication and correspondence
- Seek medical attention and obtain medical records regarding your injury, such as medical certificates, x-rays and receipts
- Collect further evidence, to substantiate your claim. The evidence you collect can help maximise the compensation you will receive. This includes:
- Taking photographs of the injury itself
- Taking photographs of the location where the injury occurred, and the surroundings
- Obtaining the names and other contact details of any witnesses
- Receipts or records of any expenses incurred due to your injury, such as the cost of home modification, or travelling expenses
- Records of any lost wages due to your injury
- Lodge your public liability claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. Be aware that there are strict time limits that apply to public liability claims, and usually claims must made be within 3 years of the accident causing the injury.
How long will a Public Liability Claim settlement take?
How long it takes for a claim to be settled will usually depend on the severity of your injuries. In cases where the injury is minor and a quick recovery is made, a settlement is usually made quickly. In cases where the injury is quite substantial and persistent, the claim will often take longer to settle in order to determine the true long-term nature of your injuries, and ensure that you receive a fair amount of compensation accordingly.
What can I receive compensation for?
How much compensation you can received will depend on your circumstances and is based on the nature and extent of your injuries. You may receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses (both past and in future)
This may include hospital fees, doctors fees, cost of medication etc
- Loss of earnings (both past and in future)
This may include time off work, loss of overtime or additional hours, or even a loss of a potential promotion
- Care and assistance
Applicable in cases where your injury may require you to seek assistance from other people to help with household duties
- Home modification
Applicable in cases where your injury may require you to make modifications to your home in order to accommodate your injuries (such as installing a ramp)
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
For more information on public liability compensation claims, contact Schreuder Partners today.