Public Liability Claims QLD: Ultimate Guide to Win Yours

Making a successful public liability claim requires proof that you were injured in a public place and that someone else breached their duty of care. Learn how it works.
Public liability claims QLD

Making a successful public liability claim requires proof that you were injured in a public place and that someone else breached their duty of care. Learn how it works.

You can make a public liability claim in Queensland when you are injured in a public or private place, and someone else is to blame. Even if you are partly at fault, you could still receive a public liability compensation payout.

Our public liability claims guide explains the claims process, barriers to success, and how to win when you have a valid claim.

Key Points

  • To successfully make a public liability case, the injured person must prove the negligence of another party and establish their responsibility for a loss.
  • An experienced public liability lawyer will help determine the responsible parties and negotiate a settlement with an insurance company.
  • Types of compensation damages include economic and non-economic losses.

About Public Liability Compensation Claims

A public liability claim is the legal process by which someone who has suffered personal injuries or damage seeks compensation for their loss. The loss must be due to someone else’s negligence in a public space or private residence to have a valid claim. However, public liability law covers more than just where the accident happened. Hence, you can also make a product liability claim when a defective device or product injures you.

It can be challenging to win a public liability compensation claim because there can be several liable parties who will likely dispute responsibility. So, for the best possible outcome, we recommend you obtain legal advice from a skilled personal injury lawyer.

Do I Have a Valid Claim?

What is Public Liability?

Owners of public or private spaces have a general duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their property users, which is known as public liability. Consequently, you can claim compensation when they fail their duty of care. This right is protected by the Civil Liability Act 2003, and covers a wide range of negligence claims, such as:

For this reason, most property owners have public liability insurance to safeguard their assets when the unexpected happens. When you have a successful personal injury claim, the public liability insurer funds your compensation payout.

Negligence and Liability

In this legal context, the term negligence refers to the failure to exercise due care that a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances. When this negligent behaviour harms another person in a public place, the injured person can recover compensation by making a public liability claim.

For example, government bodies, such as local councils, have a legal obligation to ensure their premises are safe for the people who use their facilities.

In the following section of our public liability claims guide, we’ll look at how to know if you can make a claim.

Eligibility to Make a Public Liability Claim

In Queensland, there are three essential criteria to be eligible for a public liability claim.

  1. A person must have suffered an injury or damage.
  2. Another party’s negligence must have caused the injury.
  3. The claimant must have suffered a loss as a result of the injury.

Personal Injury Damages

Any physical injury or psychological harm brought on by the breach of another party’s duty of care qualifies as a personal injury for a compensation claim. For an approved personal injury claim, damages can be awarded for past and future economic and non-economic losses, including:

  • Lost income and superannuation
  • Medical treatment expenses
  • Travel-related medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Cost of domestic care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost quality of life
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses

Negligence of Another Party

The second criterion is the negligent behaviour of another party. This means an accident or injury caused by someone else’s failure to exercise reasonable care can qualify for a public liability claim.

For example, if a supermarket fails to promptly clean up a spill and a customer slips and falls, the property owner’s negligence can be held accountable.

Suffered A Loss

Finally, to qualify for a public liability claim, the claimant must prove the financial loss that is linked to the physical injury or mental health condition. So, you must keep records of all medical evidence and expenses related to the injury to help establish your case.

Free Online Claim Check

A woman illustrating the public liability claim process

Public Liability Claim Process: Step-by-Step

The process of a public liability claim is like a four-course meal, starting with

  1. Consulting a public liability lawyer
  2. Gathering all the evidence
  3. Identifying the responsible parties
  4. Negotiating a settlement with a public liability insurance company

Each step is vital to ensuring a successful claim.

Consulting with a Personal Injury Lawyer

It is not easy to win a public liability claim because insurance companies will always seek to reduce their liability or deny your case. Additionally, there can be more than one negligent party, with each disputing their level of responsibility. Consequently, your best chance of a winning outcome is to work with experienced lawyers with a track record of success.

Thankfully, the team at Splatt Lawyers works with the guidance of an accredited specialist in personal injury law. Furthermore, our public liability lawyers provide effective legal services on a 100% no win, no fee basis. It’s free to know where you stand, so call now: 1800 700 125

Gather Evidence

One of the most vital steps to a successful public liability claim is to gather compelling evidence. Documentation like medical records, accident reports, photographs or videos of the accident scene, and witness statements. You will also need an accurately completed claim form and, in some cases, an independent medical examination.

Experienced lawyers will assist in gathering the proof needed to back up a valid claim.

Identifying the Responsible Parties

Determining the responsible parties is the next stage in the claims process. This means working out who is in charge of the area, building or facility where the accident occurred.​ It could be a landlord, shopping centre manager, building manager, body corporate, or local council.

Negotiating with Insurers

The final step is negotiating fair compensation with the public liability insurer. This typically involves the following:

  • Negotiation and settlement discussions
  • Evaluation of claims
  • Assessment of heads of damages
  • Facilitating a settlement payout

The goal is to reach a fair settlement between the responsible parties.

Strict Time Limits for Public Liability Claims

Knowing the strict time limits that apply when you have a valid public liability claim is essential. Missing your time limit generally means being blocked from claiming compensation. In Queensland, a general limitation period of three years from the accident date applies to lodging a personal injury claim.

However, the exact time frame can depend on your unique circumstances, so it’s best to seek legal advice immediately. If you miss your time limit, our public liability lawyers will advise if you qualify for an exemption or extension. Additionally, early lodgement is the best approach for a positive result. That’s because insurance companies will often question why you waited so long to commence proceedings, increasing the chance of them denying your case.

How Much Compensation for Public Liability Claims?

You will want to know the value of your compensation payout when you win a public liability claim. In Australia, settlement for personal injuries is calculated using “heads of damages,” which consist of general and economic damages. Each element serves a unique purpose in calculating the lump sum amount, ensuring fair compensation for your loss.

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover the financial losses incurred as a result of the accident. These can include:

  • Medical expenses, including future treatment costs
  • Lost wages and superannuation, including future losses.
  • Cost of home care and domestic assistance
  • Treatment-related travel costs
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses

Hence, it’s essential to keep a comprehensive record of all expenses related to the injury to ensure they are included in your final compensation payout.

General Damages (Pain and Suffering)

In contrast, non-economic damages are more abstract since they compensate for accident-related pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Since non-economic damages don’t have a set monetary value and instead depend on how much your personal injuries have affected your life, quantifying them is a difficult process.

What is my claim worth?

How Lawyers Help with Public Liability Compensation

Experienced public liability lawyers are vital when making a public liability claim. A skilled legal team will help you successfully claim compensation by:

  • Guiding you through complex legal processes
  • Leveraging their experience in personal injury law
  • Building a compelling case and an accurate claim form
  • Negotiating the best settlement with the public liability insurer
  • Helping you avoid costly court proceedings

Splatt Lawyers has been helping people injured in a public space by someone else’s negligence or by a faulty product for three decades. The vast knowledge of our skilled personal injury lawyers has given them a strong track record of excellent outcomes. Selecting our Queensland law firm for your case means accessing our 100% no win, no fee funding. This means there are no upfront costs, with no legal fees until we win and zero if you lose. Find out if you have a valid claim by Calling 1800 700 125 or using our free online claim check form>

An image for proving negligence in public liability claims

Common Barriers to Successful Public Liability Claims

In Australia, there are common barriers to winning public liability claims. Some frequent challenges include:

  1. Proving someone was negligent
  2. Dealing with large insurers who want to deny or reduce your claim
  3. Managing uninsured or uncooperative defendants

Each challenge requires a unique approach and an effective strategy to achieve a successful public liability claim.

Proving Negligence

Winning negligence claims relies on proving someone failed their duty of care by not taking reasonable steps to ensure the injured person’s safety. To prove negligence, you need compelling evidence, like:

  • Witness statements
  • Photos and videos of the accident scene
  • Copies of the accident, ambulance and police reports
  • Medical evidence
  • Independent medical examinations (in some cases)

These documents help establish a clear connection between the other party’s actions (or inaction) and the claimant’s injury.

Negotiating with Insurers

When you win a negligence claim, the insurance company is liable to fund your compensation payout. Unsurprisingly, they will seek any opportunity to reduce payouts or reject claims. Fortunately, the team at Splatt Lawyers regularly successfully negotiates settlements with all the leading public liability insurers and knows their tactics for minimising responsibility.

Uninsured or Uncooperative Defendants

Dealing with uninsured or uncooperative defendants can make the claim process more challenging. If you hope to pursue a settlement, you must employ different tactics in these situations. This could involve exploring other avenues for compensation, like finding other liable parties or insurers.

Photo of a wet floor before a slip and fall accident

Examples of Public Liability Claims

Although there are many circumstances in which someone can fail their duty of care, some common situations lead to public liability claims. These include common incidents like:

  1. Slip-and-fall accidents
  2. Faulty products
  3. Injuries sustained on private properties.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Imagine you’re out shopping for groceries. You’re walking down an aisle when suddenly, you slip and fall on a spilled liquid or slippery floor. Such a slip and fall accident could result in a public liability claim if the supermarket’s negligence in failing to maintain safe floors caused your fall and subsequent injury.

More about slip and fall claims >

Injuries on Private Property

Now, picture visiting a friend’s house for a barbecue. You trip over a broken step on their porch and suffer an injury. Your friend’s negligence in failing to repair the broken step could result in a public liability claim. In this situation, you could seek compensation for your loss from your friend’s homeowner’s insurance.

Alternatively, your landlord has failed to maintain your rental property safely. In this case, you could sue your landlord’s insurer.

Faulty and Defective Products

In Australia, when an unsafe product harms you, you can make a product liability claim. Manufacturers and suppliers have a general duty to ensure the safety of their merchandise. This obligation extends to a wide variety of products, like cars, household appliances, medical devices and implants, medication, gym equipment, toys and much more.

More about product liability claims >

Win Your Case With Splatt Lawyers?

Public liability claim icon

Public Liability Compensation Claim FAQs

What is the common law of public liability?

Public liability law states that individuals or entities can be held liable if they have breached their duty of care and caused harm to another person or their property.

What is a public liability claim?

Public liability claims are the legal process of seeking compensation for people who have suffered injury or damage due to another party’s negligence in either public or private spaces.

Who can make a public liability claim?

Generally speaking, you can make a public liability claim when you suffer an injury or damage due to someone else’s negligence, either:

  • In a public space
  • On council or privately-owned property
  • By a defective product

What types of damages can be claimed against public liability insurance?

When you win a public liability claim, you can seek damages for economic losses and non-economic losses, including pain and suffering.

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