Young girl suffers burns at party and succeeds in a public liability claim against home owners insurance

Published 27 Sep 2013

Recently our firm acted on behalf of a 16 year old girl who attended a party at a friend’s house. The party was attended by school friends and there was no adult present to supervise the proceedings. Some young males at the party were playing with petrol around a fire. What started as a prank ended in tragedy when a container of lit petrol was accidentally thrown onto the Plaintiff dousing her in petrol and causing significant burns down the front of her body.

The Family of the girl first approached Gerard Malouf and partners and discussed the possibility of pursuing a public liability claim against the homeowners and their Public Liability Insurance.

After an initial consultation with the Managing Partner Reg Kolokossian   it was quickly agreed that we would investigate the possibility of commencing a claim in view of the horrific nature of the burns and the fact that it was   our   initial view that there should have been adult supervision   at such a party   

The claim was handled by Mr  Ray Abbas senior Associate and Accredited specialist in Personal Injury Law and Public  Liability  Proceedings were brought against the owner of the property for failing to supervise the underage gathering and also against the boy who accidentally knocked the flaming petrol onto his friend.

Our investigations including obtaining statements  from friends who were at the party and no doubt  medical evidence in support  of the serious  burns  and damages  the young girl sustained 

The matter settled prior to going to court for a very significant sum . The settlement sum was paid by both the insurer for the absent home owner and the "home insurer" of the parents of the young boy who was a visitor  at the party  involved. The liability of the boy was picked up by his parent's home insurance policy under its public liability clause, even though the accident  occurred  outside  of their own home  and on someone else’s property. This insurance company paid for the greater proportion of the settlement.

This case reminds us that even if we are wronged by an individual, as long as their actions are not "intentional", liability for their actions can be covered by their, or their families, home insurance policy .