Slip and fall accidents continue to put people in the hospital. In Australia, slipping accounted for 30% of hospitalisations in 2019-2020, while falls from slipping or tripping are the most commonly specified causes of death, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports. Adults and children who sustain an injury from a slip or fall accident may be eligible for public liability compensation, especially if another party fails to use reasonable care.
How is a slip and fall accident defined?
An injury from a slip and fall (also called a slip and trip) case is a type of public liability claim under personal injury law. Anytime an injury occurs from a slip and fall in a public or private space – where people travel, recreate or work – premises liability could be involved. The injured person could file a compensation claim with the insurance company or by suing the owner or occupier (defendant) directly.
Not all types of businesses are required by law to carry public liability insurance. So, litigation may be the only way to receive compensation for a brain injury or other serious injury brought on by a fall on the defendant’s premises.
Situations where you could slip and fall
Claims can be made for any situation in which one loses their footing, falls and sustains an injury, such as slipping on a wet surface, a fall from a moving object, a same-level or low-height fall and more.
Examples of situations where a public liability claim might be reasonable include:
- A fall from a vehicle that moved without warning.
- Slip and fall on cleaning liquid on the floor of a shopping centre.
- A slip trip over an uneven unit block entrance.
- A workplace injury caused by a hazardous condition.
- Fall accident on the stairs of someone’s home.
According to the AIHW, hospitalisation rates from injury to the following areas of the body in 2019-20 included:
- 29% head and neck.
- 26% hip and leg.
- 23% shoulder and arm.
- 15% trunk (including spine, abdomen and pelvis).
- 3.6% wrist and hand.
- 2.5% ankle and foot.
Reach out to a knowledgeable fall lawyer if you are unsure about making a claim for any situation which resulted in the aforementioned injuries.
What slip and fall accidents qualify for compensation
A slip or fall accident that results in a preventable injury could be eligible for compensation. A property owner or occupant could be held responsible for the financial and non-financial impact of an accident.
Negligence occurs when a party does not take the necessary actions to avoid (duty of care) harm or does something that causes damage (breach of duty).
Imagine this: An aquarium fish tank leaks, and a small child falls on a slippery floor. The company in charge (occupier with liability) may be at fault for not placing signs, making an announcement or cordoning off the affected area. Their landlord (owner) might be negligent for not maintaining the space. Also, the leak may have happened for reasons outside the occupant or the owner’s control, and there wasn’t time to warn customers of the potential for a fall accident. Even in an unavoidable incident, a person may bring a public liability claim for a fall accident leading to an injury that could inhibit sleeping, standing or performing everyday tasks.
What to do after a slip and fall accident
See your doctor first thing after a fall injury. Should you suspect that the damage could have been prevented, contact a public liability lawyer to learn about your options as soon as possible.
You may file with an insurance company or have to lodge a claim for damages against another party which could be the owner, occupant or an employer. For the best result, find representation with expertise in personal injury law, litigating public liability claims or settling worker’s compensation cases.
An experienced fall lawyer can determine if your particular slip and fall accident is valid under the law and how to file a claim. To win a slip and fall claim, one must prove the injury resulted from the defendant’s negligence.
Public liability claim explained
Every public liability case is different but the claim should list the full extent of each person’s loss. The level of injury is the main factor in all of these costs. The financial impact on a person with a spinal cord injury will be vastly different from a person with a shoulder injury that will heal.
Things to consider for your accident claim
Compensation for a public liability claim rests on four main factors.
- Cost of immediate treatment. Costs could include out-of-pocket medical expenses and ambulatory fees.
- Ongoing medical costs. These commonly include medication, physiotherapy or surgery expenses.
- Non-economic loss. Typically these include pain and suffering and damages paid on the physical or psychological impact of the accident.
- Loss of earnings. A reduction or total loss of wages or superannuation stemming from the slip and fall accident.
The length of time it takes to receive compensation for a public liability claim will depend on whether your case is settled (the fastest) or goes to court.
Those who suffer financially, physically, socially and emotionally from a slip and fall accident are not guaranteed compensation by settlement or litigation in court. Remember, payment is not possible without filing a claim. Reach out to GMP Law’s’ personal injury experts for a no-obligation consultation on your case.
Workplace negligence and how to file a claim
Employers (a person conducting a business or undertaking or PCBU) are responsible for the health and safety of their employees under a set of model work health and safety (WHS) laws that are regulated and enforced in all states and territories except Victoria.
The employer may be liable when an employee sustains an injury from a slip and fall accident on site or while carrying out their work for the employer. Unlike public liability, workers compensation insurance is compulsory.
Any of the following roles could file a work injury claim:
- Apprentice or trainee.
Slip and fall accidents at work are most common in industries like transportation, construction and agriculture. The rate of workplace fatalities stemming from a traumatic fall was 11% in 2019, according to Work Safe Australia.
The amount of compensation you receive will hinge on proving an employer’s negligence in preventing slip, trip and fall hazards. Claims will differ based on the level of injury and economic and non-economic costs associated with the accident.
Should an employee become injured from a trip or slip accident on a kerb, steps, holes, ditches or a wet surface, report the injury to your employer. The time limit for filing a claim depends on the state or territory. Typically, claims can be made within three years from the date of the injury.
Anyone who has received a medical diagnosis for a slip and fall injury should contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about their options.
Start a claim for slip and fall injury compensation
A slip and fall injury could happen anywhere, and the impact can be devastating.
Navigating the laws and understanding how to lodge a claim and advocate for compensation is best left to personal injury lawyers with expertise in slip and fall compensation cases. If you wish to proceed, contact Gerard Malouf & Partners to speak with a personal injury expert.