Public liability
claims lawyers

What is public liability law?

Public liability covers a wide range of circumstances in which someone is injured because of the negligence of someone else.

Individuals, businesses and organisations have a 'duty of care' to ensure the safety of people. This covers privately and publicly owned space such as sporting fields, parks, gardens and footpaths, as well as public, commercial and retail property.

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.

Why Maurice Blackburn?

We have been helping people make personal injury and compensation claims for nearly 100 years and are committed to fighting for what is fair.

We offer 'no win, no fee'* arrangements for these kinds of cases, which means that you don’t have to pay for our legal services if you don't win. 

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and throughout Australia.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

All you need to know about public liability

You have the right to be safe when you’re in a public place. If you have been hurt as the result of another person or organisation’s negligent behaviour you may be able to make a public liability claim for compensation.

Wendy's story - Public liability
'If I could touch Terry's hand one more time, and he was with me, I'd just give the world for that.'

Dimi Ioannou

National Head of Public Liability and Consumer Protection, Melbourne

"It’s important that people know they are protected if something goes wrong through the negligence of someone else, and I pride myself on achieving a just outcome for those affected."

Trang van Heugten

Special Counsel, Melbourne

"I have a particular interest in a range of compensation matters, as well as in bringing claims for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse."

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make a public liability claim?

You may be eligible to claim public liability compensation if you have been injured because of the negligence of someone else.

Your public liability claim will vary greatly depending on your location and the nature of your injuries. Generally your public liability compensation claim will cover things like:

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

What types of accidents can I make a public liability claim for?

The most common types of accidents that you may be able to claim public liability compensation for cover:

  • playground and schoolyard accidents
  • slips and falls in supermarkets and other retail outlets
  • injuries on private property, including rental properties
  • injuries caused by animals
  • boat and water-sport accidents
  • sporting injuries
  • food poisoning
  • bicycle accidents that don't involve a vehicle
  • physical and sexual assault

Who can I claim public liability compensation against?

Any organisation or institution who has caused or contributed to your accident or injury may be found legally liable and required to pay compensation. They may even be liable for the actions of others if the location of your accident is under their control.

Businesses and other (non domestic) occupiers of premises are required to carry Public liability Insurance. The compensation is actually paid by the insurance company. A person’s own home & contents insurance covers public liability if an accident occurs at a private residence.

Can I represent myself when making a public liability claim?

Yes. However, public liability law is complicated. Each state and territory has its own laws that apply to public liability cases. Recent changes in the law have made it more difficult to prove negligence if you are injured as a result of an 'obvious hazard'.

It's important to get help from someone who understands the complexities of public liability law, with experience in your area. Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has all the resources and experience that come with being a national firm.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

How do I make 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
  • that duty of care was breached
  • it could be predicted that this breach would lead to injury or damage

How long do I have to make a public liability claim?

Time limits vary under the different state and federal laws. It's important to report your injury to the compensation authority as soon as possible, once you've become aware of your injury.

You have three years to make a claim from the date of injury.

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 for medical and related expenses, including the dates of medical consultations
  • take photos of the injuries and where you were injured (where possible)
  • contact us to discuss your claim

What settlement can I expect for my public liability compensation claim?

Your public liability compensation claim may cover:

  • medical costs (including past and future costs)
  • lost income (including past and future costs)
  • pain and suffering
  • suffering and lost enjoyment of life (however, there is a cap on what you can claim for pain and suffering)
  • home help and attendant care

How long does a public liability claim take?

Your public liability claim and the legal process may take up to several years, especially if you have to wait for injuries to stabilise.

When is duty of care breached?

Duty of care may be breached when the occupier or operator of a space or premises is negligent in their duty to care for your safety in entering and using that space.

What could I be entitled to if duty of care is breached?

You may be entitled to sue the occupier or operator of a space or premises for any accidents or injuries that are caused by their negligent behaviour. This is known as a public liability claim.

No win, no fee*

Our public liability lawyers are experienced in winning fair compensation for our clients on a no win, no fee basis.

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