Can I make a public liability claim for shoddy workmanship?
Published 09 Apr 2018
Many organisations and individuals owe members of the general public a duty of care. This means they must take reasonable precautions to prevent any harm coming to people who use their services.
You can make a public liability claim against those who you feel have negligently breached this obligation. If successful in your claim, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
But what about shoddy workmanship? Can you claim if a renovated wall in your home collapses and hurts you? How about a poorly manufactured TV stand that gives way and injures a guest?
Liability for private property injuries
Approximately 8.4 million Australians performed renovations on their property in the 12 months to January 2017. This represents 62 per cent of the country's homeowners.
Clearly, Australians take great pride in their properties, but not all home improvements go according to plan. Whether the roof falls in, a wall collapses or a balcony buckles, there are many ways that a renovation can go wrong.
If you or anyone else in the house is seriously injured in these circumstances, you can pursue a compensation claim for damages against the company that performed the job under the Civil Liability Act 2002.
The money you are awarded for a successful claim will depend on the extent of your physical and mental injuries. You can also receive redress for any non-financial losses you may have suffered, such as pain and suffering.
Product liability compensation
Liability for negligent workmanship can also extend to product manufacturers and suppliers.
Organisations owe you a duty of care to ensure your safety when using their goods and services. You may therefore be entitled to compensation if you can show a faulty product was the cause of your injuries.
Liability cases are typically stronger when a design fault affects every product in the range rather than just a single item. A good example is the recent Takata airbag scandal, which has caused nearly two dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide.
Should I make a compensation claim?
Liability claims can be complex, as you must prove not only that the organisations owed you a duty of care but also that they breached this obligation due to negligence.
Their failings must also have directly led to the injuries for which you are claiming.
You should contact a seasoned personal injury specialist at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your claim in more detail.