Public Liability & Faulty Products

If you were hurt somewhere other than at work or in a motor vehicle accident, you may have an occupiers or public liability claim.

Occupiers and public liability law covers a wide variety of circumstances in which people may suffer personal injury or death. These include:

  • playground accidents
  • schoolyard incidents
  • injuries sustained in sporting activities where the oval, arena or court has fallen into disrepair or is poorly maintained
  • slips and falls in supermarkets or other retail outlets
  • dog attacks
  • plane or boat accidents
  • falls on public property, and
  • residential accidents.

If you have been injured by defective products you may also be entitled to claim compensation. Examples of defective products causing injury include gym equipment, electrical items and children's toys.

It's important to get advice from experts.

Maurice Blackburn has represented the victims of negligent conduct for more than 75 years.

In recent times, significant changes have been made to occupiers and public liability laws so that proving negligence has become more difficult where people are injured as a result of an 'obvious hazard'. In addition, the federal and most state governments have now introduced limits and thresholds on what can be claimed for pain and suffering. It is therefore very important you seek the assistance of experienced lawyers with a thorough understanding of this complicated area of law.

Watch Kate Montgomery and her lawyer Trang Tran talk about Kate's case.

FAQs about Public Liability & Faulty Product claims

What can I claim for?

Compensation may cover:

  • medical costs (including future costs)
  • lost income
  • pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, and
  • home help and attendant care.

Who can I claim from?

Anyone who causes injury can be forced to pay compensation. Sometimes, they may even be liable for the actions of others, while the site is under their control. For example, a provider of public transport could be held liable for injuries caused by a drunken passenger to another passenger.

The occupier has a duty of care to people who they can reasonably foresee will come on to the property. It does not matter if the property is privately or publicly owned. Property includes sporting fields, parks, gardens and footpaths.

What do I do if I think I have a claim?

If you think you have a claim you should:

  • seek medical treatment immediately and tell your doctor how you were injured
  • keep records and receipts of all medical expenses and the dates of all medical consultations
  • keep records and receipts of any wages you have lost as a result of your injury
  • take photos of your injuries, where possible, and
  • take photos of where you were injured, where applicable.

What do I do if I was injured by a faulty or unsafe product?

If you think you have a claim you should:

  • seek medical treatment immediately and tell your doctor how you were injured
  • keep records and receipts of all medical expenses and the dates of all medical consultations
  • keep records and receipts of any wages you have lost as a result of your injury
  • take photos of your injuries, where possible, and
  • keep the product that caused your injury.

Do not return the product to the manufacturer as it represents significant evidence.

Can I make a product liability claim?

If you were injured by a faulty or unsafe product, you can make a claim if you can show that:

  • the manufacturer or producer owed you a duty of care
  • this duty was breached, by establishing that the manufacturer failed to do something it should have or did something it should not have, and
  • this failure caused you to suffer an injury, which will need to be supported by medical evidence.

You may also be entitled to a claim under the Trade Practices Act.

Someone else's story

When Lorna, aged 72, fell at a local supermarket on water leaked from a fridge, she broke her wrist. Lorna required surgery and was left with a stiff wrist. She received $70,000 in compensation.

When Joe, aged 64, fell in a broken utilities pit he broke his leg. He required surgery on three occasions and missed 6 months of work. He received $120,000 in compensation.