Slips, trips and falls: Public liability claims

Tuesday 18 June 2019

by Jyoti Haikerwal, graduate

If you have been injured in public or private place, or through another person’s fault, you may want to hold the responsible party accountable.  However it is often hard to know who actually is liable and whether they were negligent (at fault).

Who is liable?

The first step a public liability personal injury claim is to identify the relevant responsible party.  In order for that person to be responsible, they need to have owed you a duty of care and then breached that duty of care. 

For example, when you visit a doctor they owe you a duty to provide you with reasonable medical treatment.  If they breach this duty and it causes an injury, they may be liable.  In the same way that if you go to a supermarket, they owe you a duty of care to provide safe premises. If there is liquid on the floor without the proper signage, and you slip and injure yourself, there may be an argument that the supermarket is liable.

Identifying the responsible parties can be difficult and there can often be more than one responsible party.

Case study

Adviceline Injury Lawyers recently assisted a client who suffered injuries to his upper limb after a slip and fall on a ramp of a trailer that he had hired.

We were able to identify that both the company who hired out the trailer and the manufacturer who made the trailer were both responsible for the defect in the trailer. 

The company owed a duty of care to our client to ensure that the trailer they were hiring out was safe.  The manufacturer was liable because a consumer is reasonably entitled to expect the product that they are receiving is safe to use and has undergone all necessary safety checks.

In this case, once our client had shown that he had sustained a “significant injury” at law, we were able to commence and resolve his claim.  This case was resolved for a six figure settlement against both the company and manufacturer.

This case study serves as an important reminder that more than one party may be responsible in an incident.

If you believe that you have been injured and more than one party may be at fault, it is worthwhile to speak to an expert public liability solicitor.

Adviceline Injury Lawyers offers free advice from a lawyer on dedicated hotline (03) 9321 9988.

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