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Art Gallery Was Ordered to Pay a Customer Compensation for Defective Premises

Case Overview
  • Our client lost her balance and fell because her foot became stuck in an uneven surface on the premises.
  • She had a fractured right ankle and would need ongoing treatment in the future. 
  • Our client consulted our legal firm, and we sent a letter of demand to the owners and occupies off the premises. 

Our client was an interstate customer attending to an Art Gallery premises for the purposes of her art consulting business. As she was leaving the premises, she was caused to lose balance and fall because her right foot became stuck in a hole in an uneven surface at the front door of the premises. The landing at the front of the premises was comprised of cement and limestone and it was uneven with ridges and hollows and posed a significant hazard to pedestrians. Unbeknown to our client it had been in that state for a significant period of time.

An incident report was completed and provided to the owner of the premises on the same date of the injury. Our client suffered a fractured right ankle as well as tearing the ligaments in her right foot and right ankle. She was referred to have x-rays and then to an orthopedic surgeon who recommended a physiotherapy and exercise program. She had constant swelling and pain in the right angle, and as a result of not being able to be active, it resulted in her having a significant increase in her weight which caused more difficulties with their fractured right ankle.

Our client consulted our legal firm, and we forwarded a letter of demand to the owners and occupies off the premises. The public liability insurer denied liability in respect to the claim. We launched legal proceedings against the defendants in negligence on the basis that the presence of the hole in an uneven surface at the front door of the premises posed a significant trip hazard for pedestrians which the defendants had actual knowledge of an ought to have reasonably been aware of the defect in the front of the premises.

We briefed a liability safety expert who reviewed the premises and from his observations of the photographs an experience within the building industry was his opinion that the landing surface would have been damaged and uneven and unsafe for over a significant period.

It was his opinion that the front entrance of the premises was not adequately or safely maintained and contained vertical obstructions which caused a trip hazard for all pedestrians. The cost of rectifying the area and making it significantly safer was quite minimal in the circumstances.

“The defendants had not carried out any risk assessments in accordance with the work health and safety regulations of 2011 including their failure to carry out regular routine repair works to the area of the landing and permitting pedestrians to walk upon the area in circumstances where it was a trip hazard and would more likely than not cause injury.”

Our Approach

We arranged for our client to be medically examined and assessed by number of doctors and specialists with respect to her injury and her ongoing symptoms of. Her right ankle continued to cause her ongoing problems, and this affected her daily activities, her loss of enjoyment of life, and her ability to participate in normal social, domestic, recreational, sporting and employment activities act.

It was determined that she would be left with permanent impairment in relation to the right ankle as a result of the accident. The diagnosis by the specialists what that she suffered a fractured right ankle and that she would require ongoing treatment in the future. She was left with a 10% whole person impairment to the right ankle as a result of the accident. The proceedings were listed for hearing to determine the liability and medical issues between the various defendants.

The case is instructive in terms of the rights, obligations between tenants and landlords on the premises, their duty of care to lawful entrants and to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe for use at all times.

For a free no-obligation consultation, please contact GMP Lawyers so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend our office to protect your legal rights arising from your injury.

The Result

At the conclusion of the hearing, the court ordered that both defendants were liable in negligence in causing our clients injuries, losses and damages. Our client was very happy with the outcome of the case.

Nassir Bechara

Special Counsel
I strongly recommend Gerard Malouf & Partners for their dedicated client service and expertise. Nassir Bechara particularly supported my claim process with sound advice and compassion. In such a challenging legal process I entrusted him with looking after my best interests and he and his team exceeded well beyond my expectations. Nassir did more than follow a process.
Frequently Asked Questions

More Information

Public liability refers to the responsibilities owners or occupants of a public space have to protect anyone who enters. If the owners or occupants fall short of these responsibilities, resulting in an injury, a case for compensation can be made.

Some of the most common incidents covered by public liability law include:

  • The food or drink from a restaurant makes you sick: The most common example of this type of public liability is food poisoning, however improperly disclosed allergens could also lead to litigation.
  • A slip and fall accident caused by negligence: Slip and fall incidents are especially common in busy public places such as playgrounds, schools, shopping centres, common walkways in buildings and outdoor event venues. They can result from negligent behaviour if poorly lit, uneven, unmarked or slippery surfaces are involved, amongst other reasons.
  • Injury caused by poor workmanship: If a product used by a space fails mechanically and causes an injury, a public liability claim can often be made. Examples include exploding gas bottles, poorly constructed furnishings and inadequate building structures. These cases may also be eligible for product liability litigation, if you decide to pursue both the property owner and the product manufacturer.
  • An attack by an animal while in a space: If the owners or occupants of a space fail to keep an animal, whether domestic or wild, contained as a result of negligence, you may have a potential case.


Every land owner and business owner has a responsibility to their customers and the general public that their environment will be safe and hazard-free. As long as you are on the property legally or it is a public space, any injuries that you suffer could be the basis for a public liability claim.

This is a growing part of the Australian legal system with many people still unaware that this is a possibility. However, with the right evidence and legal team, you have the ability to claim back medical expenses and lost wages among other payments.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we offer both free over-the-phone advice and face-to-face consultation calls with potential clients. During these discussions, it is important that you have a sufficient amount of information about your case to pass onto us. This helps us to determine the validity of your case with accuracy and ensure you have the best chance of success, if the claim moves forward.

As such, the following types of information could help boost your claim.

  • Medical reports citing what injuries you suffered, what treatment you were provided with and what treatment you need in the coming weeks, months or years.
  • Evidence taken from the accident site – photographs, witness statements, land owner details etc.
  • Financial records which highlight a loss of income or outstanding medical bills.
  • Detailed report of the incident from your perspective.


Following an initial meeting, the first task will be to establish the general facts of the case. This will include your medical diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed and documented by a doctor; and proof that the person or company at fault owed you a duty of care, which will need to be demonstrated. Together, this will show that your injury occurred when they breached that duty of care.

From there a further investigation will proceed—contacting and interviewing witnesses, speaking with expert consultants, and more—all in order to bolster the strength of your case even further. Only once this process is complete, and your claim can be demonstrated and proven in full, will the process move on to the next step.



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Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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