Public liability lawyers Queensland

What is public liability law?

Public liability law says that you have the right to be safe when you’re in a public place. It covers a wide range of circumstances where someone is injured or passes away because of the actions or inactions of someone else.
Individuals, businesses and organisations have a 'duty of care' to care for the safety of people who they can reasonably foresee will come onto their property. This covers privately and publicly owned space such as sporting fields, parks, gardens and footpaths, as well as public, commercial and retail property.

Anyone who causes or contributes to an accident may be found legally liable. Businesses and others who occupy property (other than residents) are required to carry public liability insurance, so compensation claims are mostly made against insurance companies.

Compensation may cover medical costs (including future costs); lost income; pain, suffering and lost enjoyment of life; and home help and attendant care.

Making a public liability claim

To make a successful public liability claim, you need to be able to prove that:

  • you were owed a duty of care
  • the duty of care was breached
  • it could be predicted that this breach would lead to injury or damage.

You can make state and federal public liability claims. Limits and thresholds on what you can claim for pain and suffering have been introduced recently. Other changes in the law have made it more difficult to prove negligence if you are injured as a result of an 'obvious hazard'.

If you think you have a claim, you should:

  • seek medical treatment and tell your doctor how you were injured
  • keep records and receipts for any wages lost and relevant expenses, including the dates of medical consultations
  • take photos of the injuries and where you were injured (where possible).

Why Maurice Blackburn?

Public liability law is complicated, so it's important to get help from someone who understands its complexities. We have been helping people make compensation claims for nearly 100 years and are committed to fighting for what is fair.

We are a national firm with Queensland offices in Brisbane, Browns Plains, Caboolture, Cairns, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Strathpine, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Townsville, and throughout Australia.

Our costs

We provide our services on a 'no win, no fee'* basis. This means that you will only pay our legal fees if you receive a settlement or compensation. You would not be charged our fees if the claim is not pursued after investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Public Liability?

Public liability law means that an individual, business or organisation can be sued for negligent acts or omissions that result in the injury or death of a person or damage to their property. Generally, to make a successful claim for negligence you need to be able to prove that you were owed a 'duty of care', that the duty of care was breached, and that it could be predicted that this breach would lead to injury or damage.

What sort of accidents may be covered by public liability laws?

The law covers a wide range of circumstances where you may have been injured, including:

  • playground and schoolyard accidents
  • injuries sustained during sporting activities where the space is poorly maintained or has fallen into disrepair
  • slips and falls in supermarkets or other retail outlets
  • dog attacks
  • plane or boat accidents
  • falls on public property
  • slippery bike tracks
  • physical assault
  • residential accidents.

What can I claim public liability compensation for?

Compensation may cover:

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

Who can I claim public liability compensation from?

Anyone who causes or contributes to an injury may be found legally liable and required to pay compensation. They may even be liable for the actions of others while the location of the accident 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, or an occupier of premises (such as a shopping centre) could be held liable for injuries caused by the actions of other shoppers. Businesses and other (non-domestic) occupiers of premises are required to carry Public Liability Insurance. So, in most cases, any claim for compensation is actually made against an insurance company.

Public liability claims can be made under both State and Federal legislation, although limits and thresholds on what you can claim for pain and suffering have been recently introduced. Changes have also been made to occupiers and public liability laws that mean it’s more difficult to prove negligence if you’re injured as a result of an ‘obvious hazard’. 

What do I do if I think I have a public liability 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 of any wages lost as a result of your injury
  • take photos of your injuries, if possible.
  • take photos of where you were injured, where applicable.

What is duty of care?

The occupier of a premises or area has a legal 'duty of care' towards people who they can reasonably foresee will come into that space. It doesn’t matter if the property is privately or publicly owned and can include sporting fields, parks, gardens and footpaths, as well as public, commercial and retail premises.

Is sport covered by public liability law?

Historically, compensation for claims of negligence were not always open to athletes or other participants in sport, in recognition of the fact that sports contained certain inherent risks. However, this is no longer the case, with the High Court ruling that just because an injury occurred in the context of an activity that contained certain inherent risks, the context did not eliminate a duty of care.

Additionally, the occupiers or owners of sporting premises or other recreational facilities can also be held responsible under the area of occupier’s liability with respect to the safety of those facilities.

Our Process

Our Queensland team will assist you with your claim and ensure your know about your rights and entitlements.

1

Get in touch

Tell us your story, we're here to listen

2

Free first consultation

When we meet the initial consultation is free

3

Negotiation

We will manage all discussions with the insurer

4

Settlement

We will process your payment as soon as we receive it

We are committed to helping you at a difficult time in your life

First free consultation

Obligation-free confidential consultation to access your claim

'No win, no fee'*

If your claim isn't successful you won't have to pay our fees

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