Accidents happen, and sometimes those accidents can occur in a public place such as a shopping centre or a footpath. In these cases, if you can prove that the people responsible for that public place were negligent in ensuring your safety, you may be entitled to compensation for any injury you’ve suffered whether physical or psychological.
If you’ve had an accident in a public place, it’s advisable to consult an experienced public liability lawyer as soon as possible as there are a number of steps to be taken within restricted timeframes in order to make a successful claim.
A slip-and-fall scenario
Say you’re visiting the supermarket to do your weekly shop. You’re in the produce section and have nearly worked your way through your list when you slip on a grape that has rolled off the table, slip and injure your elbow in landing.
Perhaps the injury doesn’t seem so serious at first and you say nothing about it. But over the next week it becomes sorer and sorer. You can’t go to work and you need to visit a number of medical professionals in order to be assessed. They determine that you will need surgery on the elbow, requiring more time off work and more medical expenses.
A knowledgeable public liability law firm can help you mount a claim for compensation against the supermarket. Relying on many similar cases that have come before Australian courts, they can show that in most cases those responsible for running public spaces such as supermarkets or public venues have a duty of care to those who visit them. They can also show that the supermarket, in our example, breached its duty of care to you by not cleaning up the grape from the floor within a reasonable time period, and that you have suffered a loss as a result of that breach (time off work, medical expenses, etc.).
What can you claim for?
You may be able to claim compensation for:
- Pain and suffering – often a lump sum payment payable for the pain and other negative effects that the injury has had on your life, including psychological trauma.
- Medical and other expenses – an amount to cover any medical treatment or related expenses that have resulted specifically from injury.
- Economic loss – if your injury has resulted in any loss of income or wages, you may be entitled to claim those amounts back for both past and future loss.
- Care and assistance – if your injury has required you to recruit domestic assistance (a cleaner or gardener, for example) these expenses can be claimed as a lump sum payment at the settlement of your claim.
No two cases are the same and the amount of compensation you may be able to claim will be related to how dramatically your life has been affected after the accident.
What are the next steps?
If you’ve had a slip and fall, you can certainly aid the process of applying for compensation by – if you have the presence of mind – taking photos of the accident scene and getting the details of any witnesses.
But there are also time limits for making a compensation application and a number of statutory thresholds under the Civil Liability Act to meet in order to prove, for example, pain and suffering as a result of the slip and fall. This is where the advice and guidance of experienced compensation lawyers can prove essential.
BPC Lawyers are specialists in public liability compensation matters, with a number of industry awards for its work in this area. If you’ve had an accident in a public place in which you’ve been injured, let us assess your case and help determine what sort of compensation you might be entitled to. Contact our Sydney personal injury lawyers today on (02) 8280 6900 for a free initial consultation.