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Personal injury and public spaces

These days it is common knowledge that the person who owns or lives on a piece of property can be held responsible for the hazards it poses to the rest of the public.

Any injuries that occur either on someone's premises – such as their house or apartment – or as a result of coming into contact with their property can sometimes be placed as being their fault.

In these cases, a court usually has to decide if the hazard posed an obvious risk to other people – and if so what actions a reasonable person would have done to correct this.

But what happens if someone is injured by property that does not belong to a single person?

How does someone who slips on a wet patch of tile in a shopping mall or hit by loose equipment in a public space gain access to compensation that covers their medical costs?

The answers depend entirely on who the property belonged to – much the same as if it was concerning a single person.

In most of these incidents, a personal injury lawyer will be able to help the victim determine just who is most likely to be at fault for an accident.

Unlike cases that only involve individuals, companies and organisations are meant to have certain policies and procedures in place that are there to guide their employees on the best practices for safety.

So while a single worker may have been responsible for spilling liquid onto a floor or not securing scaffolding correctly – if they do not have the proper guidance, it may be the fault of the business that employs them.

In NSW, most businesses are required to to have some form of public liability insurance to help them in cases where these standards fail to protect the public from injury.

These policies are kept in place to provide access to payments for medical expenses and ongoing rehabilitation therapies that may be required by victims.

The funds are not strictly limited to those who suffer an obvious injury such as a laceration or broken limb – strains and fractures are also included under the law.

A number of conditions and diseases relating to harmful substances such as asbestos are also covered by these types of policies, meaning that they have to take reasonable care to ensure that persons who travel on publicly-accessible property do not get exposed to these dangerous elements.

In cases where a person is injured on premises not directly owned by an individual, a compensation lawyer can help them to examine their legal options.

© 2011 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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