Public Liability

Injury compensation is available in cases of negligence occurring on private and public areas: roadways, footpaths and parks, domestic premises, rental properties, shopping centres, tradespersons, school injuries, hotels and entertainment venues, recreational injury, and defective products. Complex mandatory processes mean that claimants should seek legal advice promptly after injury.  Claims must usually be lodged within 9 months of injury date.

See below: What should I do after a public area or private area injury?

The following are the types of claims that come under the description “Public Liability”:

What should I do after a public area or private area injury?

You should get medical treatment as soon as possible and return for regular follow-ups to report the severity of your condition. It is also important to get photographs of the accident location clearly showing where the injury occurred and what you believe to be responsible for the mishap.

When should I see a lawyer?

Phone or email for advice as soon as your treatment is at hand and you have photographs or a sketch of the accident scene.

On logging your enquiry, you will be asked some questions about the accident scene, your employment status and medical history. To give concise advice, we need to know exactly what caused the accident and the extent of your injury.

We will then arrange a meeting at one of our Brisbane or Gold Coast offices or at your home to complete the claim notice and to explain how the injury compensation process applies to your circumstances.

Make an online enquiry

How does it work from there?

A Notice of Claim must be sent to the occupier of the premises on which the injury occurred within one month of the date of your first consultation with your lawyer.
The relevant insurer then responds to the notice and investigates how it occurred.

At the same time, we begin collecting all records relating to your income and medical histories. This helps us to formulate your claim including a specially, loss of wages and loss of future earning capacity.

At about 9 – 12 months post injury, we also arrange for medical assessments by leading specialists who are experienced in preparing litigation reports and if necessary, in giving evidence.

What will my damages include?

Compensation covers your past and future expenses as well as lost income or wages. If any component of your injury is permanent, you will also qualify for “general” damages and for loss of future earning capacity which even for small percentage impairments can be substantial when extrapolated to retirement age.

Domestic care provided to you at no cost by friends and family can be compensated for subject to thresholds provided the need arose as a result of the injury.
To measure up how much your claim might be worth, into details via our compensation calculator.

What time limits apply?

The Notice of Claim must be lodged within one month of your first legal consultation but within nine months of the accident. Time limits can often be extended up to 3 years from the date of accident but that is the absolute cut-off date and before then court proceedings must also be filed.

How can I start a claim?

Submit this enquiry form with all the relevant details and we will make contact about whether we think your claim is worthwhile and how we can handle it for you.

We handle accident compensation claims for roadways, footpaths and parks, domestic premises, rental properties, tradespersons and service providers, school injuries, public areas, hotels and entertainment venues, recreational injury, machinery injury and defective products. We also handle workplace injury compensation claims.

Many different types of claims come under the broad description “Public Liability”.

These claims are regulated by the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 and the Civil Liability Act 2003 which:

  • Impose strict time limits for lodging a Notice of Claim;
  • Require the completion of pre-Court procedures, including mandatory mediation, before a lawsuit can be started;
  • Protect the at-fault party from paying the victim’s legal costs of making a claim;
  • Protect the at-fault party from full accountability for the damage caused to the victim;

A Notice of Claim Part 1 (NOC-1) must be sent to the at-fault party within one month after the day the claimant first instructs a law practice to act to seek damages for the personal injury and the person against whom the proceeding is proposed to be started is identified or 9 months from the date of injury (or first appearance of symptoms) whichever date occurs first. There must be a reasonable excuse for a delay submitted at the time the NOC-1 is lodged where it is lodged outside the applicable time limit.

The insurer has one month to tell us whether it considers your notice complies with the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act. Claimants may be required to provide further Statutory Declaration relating to further matters to achieve compliance.

From the date that compliance is confirmed, the insurer has 6 months to respond to the merits of the claim.

After the NOC-1 has been accepted, the NOC part 2 must be completed and lodged.

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IN-DEPTH LOOK AT PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE

This type of insurance indemnifies the policyholder against claims made by a person other than an employee, on the policyholder’s premises or in connection with the policyholder’s business which cause Personal injury or Death.

Public liability insurance does not extend to loss or damage to property. Nor does it usually cover injury that results from the goods or services supplied by the business to its customers.

Policy features differ from one insurer to another. However, most providers offer wide-ranging cover according to whatever injury compensation laws apply at the place where the injury occurs.

It is important that your policy provides Australia wide cover for off-site events rather than insurance limited to a particular location or site. Even so, the carrying on of business at new locations (eg the opening of additional premises) creates additional risks for which additional or extended insurance is required.

Public liability insurance – of a different type – is also included in homeowners’ insurance.

WHO NEEDS PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE?

Public liability cover is important for all businesses that have customers or suppliers visit. Organizations that offer events or off-site activities which are open to the members of the public should also ensure they have public liability insurance.

Public liability insurance is also essential for all owners of property, including homes.

HOME BASED BUSINESSES OR EMPLOYEES

Technology has made it easier for people to work at home. If you run a business from home you need to obtain this cover as such risk may not be covered under your home insurance which – although it includes public liability – is generally restricted to public liability of a domestic kind.

For businesses who have employees working from home, it is important that the insurer is notified of the relevant particulars so they can assess any additional risk that results from such arrangement.

EMPLOYEES

This insurance is not a replacement for Work Cover / Workers Compensation which protects staff or people you have hired on work placements.  If you hold Work Cover, your public liability policy may also respond to protect you for additional common law liability beyond Work Cover expenses claimed by Sub-contractors if this has been declared to the insurer.

PUBLIC LIABILITY COMPARED TO PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY OR PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCES

These other types of insurance indemnify the business against injury or property losses resulting from the goods or services supplied by the business.

Businesses that sell or manufacture products should obtain products liability insurance. This covers for damages to their customers and others due to dangerous or defective products. Not just manufacturers but also restaurants, bars and retailers (with some exceptions), should investigate the need for products liability insurance.

Trades or professional services businesses should obtain professional indemnity insurance to cover claims by their customers.

Professional indemnity insurance is crucial for professionals such as accountants, consultants, marketing companies, real estate agents, digital agencies, architects, business analysts and software developers. Tradesmen – carpenters, electricians and plumbers – should also carry this type of indemnity.

PUBLIC LIABILITY POLICY COMPARISON

Public liability quotes and features differ from one provider to another. When comparing quotes, you need to look at more than just the premium and the deductible. The conditions and extent of cover can vary greatly. A suitable deductible (or “excess”) can often be negotiated in return for lower or higher premiums.

Depending on your occupation or business, certain policies will often have restrictions or requirements for cover – e.g. if you are in earthmoving, it is standard to expect the policy to include a “dial before you dig” type endorsement.

Some policies include very onerous requirements that could make the cover – in practical terms – useless for your particular purposes.

Check carefully to make sure you are protecting your business by getting appropriate cover.