Public Liability Claims
Generally, if someone owed you a duty of care and they breached this duty of care—you may be entitled to pursue a public liability claim. This means, someone may be liable for an injury caused to you—if that injury was not caused by either someone on the road or by your employer.
Some examples of public liability claims are as follows:
- Accidents which occurred in public places (e.g. being injured on public property which was unsafe or had unsafe systems which led to injury)
- Accidents in private places (e.g. injury occurring on private property that was unsafe)
- Work accidents (at your workplace) but those that were caused by someone other than your employer
- Injuries caused by a person who behaved in a negligent manner which resulted in injury
- Accidents occurring due to plant, equipment, tools or products (otherwise known as product liability claims)
- Medical negligence/negligence of a professional that resulted in injury
- Accidents which were the result of poor design, construction or inadequate maintenance of buildings, roads, pathways or infrastructure
- Injuries caused by tenants
- And injuries caused by people visiting a home
Who can I make a claim against?
Public liability claims under the public liability regime in Queensland—are governed by the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act—commonly known as a “PIPA” claim.
The main difference between a public liability claim in comparison to a WorkCover or motor vehicle CTP claim—is that generally there is no common insurer in public liability claims. This means that you will directly serve the person or company who was at fault.
Companies, businesses or individuals ought to have insurance such as public liability and/or professional indemnity insurance to respond to the claim. Depending on their type of insurance cover—some individuals may have a personal liability component included in their home and contents insurance policy.
If the respondent does not have any of the discussed insurances—they will be personally responsible for the payment of damages.
If the injury was a result of a crime, then you may have the option to seek an alternative source of compensation through the Victims of Crime compensation scheme.
Is there a strict timeline for lodging my public liability claim?
Always serve claims under the public liability regime in a highly efficient manner. This is because there is always the risk the respondent may go out of business or be difficult to find which can have implications for your case. It’s vital to your case that you act quickly so important evidence can be captured in a timely manner.
Is the individual or company I serve obliged to pay for my rehabilitation costs and loss of income/wages?
The party at fault is not obliged to pay for any medical treatment or loss of income/wages during your initial recovery phase. However, if you have incurred such expenses—those amounts can still be claimed in your public liability claim but you won’t recover these amounts until your claim settles. This compensation process varies in comparison to work injury or motor vehicle claims—however, if your injury is sustained at work then you may be able to receive workers compensation benefits.
What damages can I recover?
If you’re successful in proving your respondent is at fault you may be able to recoup amounts to compensate you for the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Past economic loss
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Superannuation on your economic loss
- Any out of pocket expenses incurred
- Future expenses to manage the impact of the injury
- Amounts for care and assistance provided to you due to your injury
- Financial contribution towards your legal costs (in some cases)
What if I had an accident—but no one caused my injury? What are my options?
If the accident happened at work or during your work commute (to or from) you may be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits if you are an employee under the Queensland workers compensation scheme.
Please click here for more information on workers compensation claims.
If you have insurance benefits attached to your superannuation accounts, for example, salary continuance, income protection or Total Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance policies you may be able to receive a payout via this avenue.
Also, if you are eligible, you may be able to receive support funding from The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which would cover support and services to assist with your disability.
What is my deadline for my public liability claim?
You must ensure you lodge your Notice of Claim with the person at fault within 1 month of engaging a lawyer or within 9 months of the incident date.
If it is lodged outside of said timeframe—you will be required to provide an explanation for the delay. Court documents then need to be lodged within 3 years of the incident date.