Injured on private or public property?

Injured on private or public property and need to make a public liability claim? The injury compensation lawyers at Fortitude Legal in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong can help.

In Victoria, if you are injured on private or public property you may have an entitlement to pursue what is broadly referred to as a ‘Public Liability Claim’.

These places can include:

  • In supermarkets or shopping centres or shops;
  • On footpaths or roads;
  • During sporting or recreational pursuits;
  • In pubs, clubs or other venues;
  • In a person’s home or on their property;
  • In parks;
  • In other public places.

A Public Liability Claim is a claim for damages which may include:

  • Damages for pain and suffering;
  • Damages for loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Past loss of earnings;
  • Future loss of earning capacity;
  • Medical expenses past and future;
  • The cost of care which has been provided to you by care providers or family members.

You must be able to establish that the accident was at least in part, the fault of another party.  This is referred to as negligence.  To claim damages for pain and suffering in cases excluding assault cases, you must also be able to establish that you have suffered a threshold level of injury.

Our team of experts will advise you on the likelihood of satisfying the threshold injury test and of proving negligence, so that you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with your claim.

Making A Public Liability Claim With Fortitude Legal

In Victoria, unlike injuries occurring at work or on the roads, there is no Government- backed compensation scheme in place to support people injured on private or public property.

In order to obtain compensation, you must deal directly with the person who you claim caused or contributed to your injuries, or their insurer or lawyers. It goes without saying, but each case is unique and that’s how we will treat your case at Fortitude Legal. Having said that, there are some generally uniform procedural and practical steps that are taken in Public Liability claims. The below is an informative guideline of the process in pursuing a Public Liability claim.

1. Seek Medical Treatment

Arrange an appointment to see your General Practitioner as soon as possible. You should give your General Practitioner a clear history of how you were injured and the nature of your injury.

2. Keep Records

Cases are only as strong as the evidence that can be produced to support them. Although our Team are experts in obtaining evidence and preparing cases, it is crucial that you take steps to preserve evidence yourself early on. If safe to do so you should: take photographs of the hazard and the surrounding area, note details of any witnesses or surrounding CCTV cameras and keep copies of any relevant documents (such as receipts, invoices) or any physical evidence.

In some situations, such as a case involving a road or road-related area, you may be required to formally report the incident with the responsible body.

3. Contact Fortitude Legal

It is important to get expert legal advice as soon as possible, whether you have reported your incident or not. At Fortitude Legal we are in your corner and we are here to assist you. We will let you know where you stand. Make an appointment to speak to us at your convenience. There is no fee and no obligation for this appointment.

4. Meet with Fortitude Legal

We are happy to meet you at one of our offices, at your home, at a location of your convenience or speak to you over the telephone. You will be put at ease instantly by our Team’s ‘down to earth’ nature and approach. You can expect to be provided with advice as to the law, your entitlements, the legal process and a full disclosure of our fee arrangements. There will be no pressure placed on you and you will be put in a position so you can make an informed decision either way.

5. Investigate, Obtain and Preserve Evidence

At Fortitude Legal we do not hesitate. After taking detailed instructions from you, we will work out what additional evidence may be required and seek to preserve this evidence before it is destroyed, or in the case of witnesses, before their recollection fades. We will also commence obtaining your medical records and reports as well as your pay and tax records. We will then formulate a strategy personalised to your claim and will decide upon any expert witnesses that may be required (ranging from medico-legal experts to engineers and safety experts).

It may also be necessary for us to perform a site visit where you were injured for the purpose of taking photographs and notes.

6. Assessment of Your Injuries

To assist us understand the full nature and extent of your injuries as well as to perform assessments in accordance with legal thresholds, it is necessary for you to attend independent medical examinations with medico-legal doctors. These examiners must be independent and have the appropriate qualifications to assess you in accordance with the requirements of the law. These examiners do not treat you and their role is to provide reports that assist us. This is not to say that your treating medical practitioners are any less important, as they in fact are paramount in providing you with treatment but also in providing us with medical reports from time to time. Medical reports are used to establish various matters such: the history of your injury, the diagnosis of your injury, the treatment you have undergone and will likely require, the prognosis, your capacity for employment and rehabilitation and any pre-existing medical conditions.

7. Receive Compensation or Commence Court Proceedings

At Fortitude Legal we pride ourselves on expertly and thoroughly preparing and presenting your claim to the other side, as we want to give you the best opportunity to resolve your claim without needing to resort to Court proceedings. As a result, due to our skill and expertise a significant number of Public Liability claims can be satisfactorily resolved without proceeding to Court. However, each claim is unique and sometimes there are issues with the evidence which means the claim may need to be tested in Court. We will provide you with honest, clear legal advice about the merits of proceeding to Court and the risks involved so you can make an informed decision.

The law surrounding public liability claims and your entitlements is complex and there are strict time limits that apply.  It is important that you get appropriate legal advice from the outset to ensure that your rights are protected.

We can help you navigate the legal requirements, maximise your entitlements and make the decisions that are right for your future.

If you have a query, please do not hesitate to contact our expert Public Liability Team for a no obligation chat.