Picture this: you’re out and about around town, taking care of a few errands, when an accident leaves you seriously injured.
The recovery process takes you out of work for several weeks, and leaves you in residual pain that can take both a physical and mental toll. Serious accidents can happen anywhere.
Luckily, Gerard Malouf and Partners’ Public Liability Lawyers are ready to take your case and get you the settlement that you deserve. Whether you’ve been injured in a commercial property, business establishment or on public land, you may have a case for a public liability claim.
Gerard Malouf and Partners have the legal resources and financial backing as well as medical experts, engineering, and accounting experts to support our worthy clients’ pursuit of justice and maximise their claims for compensation.
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:
In order for your claim to be covered in each of these situations, you must be able to prove that the accident took place on the defendant’s property or occupancy, and was the direct result of negligence on the part of the defendant.
In some cases, you may also be able to seek damages if you were not directly injured but your life was negatively impacted by an injury to someone else. A common example is a family member who must take time off of work to care for an injured loved one.
Because public liability could cover a wide range of cases, and potential litigants if the owner and occupant of the space are different, it’s not always clear what injuries and circumstances qualify.
In some situations, having a strong case will simply come down to whether you can gather any evidence of negligence. For example, if you slip and fall in a public space, and the incident is captured by CCTV, it might be relatively easy to prove negligence. In other circumstances more extensive investigations may be required to build a successful case. An experienced legal professional can help you to determine if your claim meets the terms needed to pursue public liability compensation.
Public liability compensation payouts have the potential to be extremely high, depending on the specifics of the case. In 2016 alone, Australians received $1.26 billion in public and product liability claims.
The amount of compensation given in each case typically depends on the following factors:
The amount of compensation you receive may also depend on whether you settle your case or pursue it in court. While taking a defendant to court may yield a bigger payout, it can also be more expensive. For those cases that do end up in court, the cost depends on the length and complexity of the case and which court hears it. Cases that go to the Supreme Court tend to be the most expensive.
If you wish to proceed, partnering with a team of legal experts can help you to reach your desired outcome.
Download your guide today for free and make sure that you are aware of the facts and information you need to maximise your damages claim.
Legal assistance is essential to successfully pursuing any public liability compensation. By choosing Gerard Malouf and Partners as your representation, you set yourself up for personalised attention from experienced lawyers and a higher chance at a successful settlement. It’s what we’ve made our reputation on for decades.
We regularly take on public liability cases and get results. In one recent case, from Sept. 2020, we were able to win our client a $235,000 payout after a slip and fall injury at a hotel. The man had been told upon check-in to keep his bathroom door closed while showering, so the shower’s steam would not set off the unit’s fire alarm. Doing so, however, created excess condensation in the bathroom, leading our client to slip and hit both of his shoulders in quick succession. The man was rushed to the hospital where it was found that he had endured a full thickness tear in the tendons of his right shoulder. In addition to preventing him from working his job as a bus driver for an extended period of time, the injury negatively impacted the man’s quality of life by making the recreational activities that had dominated his social calendar, such as golf and tennis, challenging.
Bereaved, the man reached out to our legal team for assistance. Our specialist was able to gather sufficient evidence to prove negligence and impact. An inspection of the hotel bathroom found that the floor surface did not pass a slip resistance test. In addition, our expert determined that the hotel had failed to conduct a proper risk assessment before opening up their rooms to guests. This proof of negligence was coupled with testimony from an orthopaedic surgeon and a psychiatrist, who each spoke to the physical and mental toll that the injury had taken on our client. As a result, the hotel was forced to reach a settlement that helped to repay what the man had lost.
Our track record of success extends beyond dealing with businesses to include public liability litigation against property owners. In another recent case, from Aug. 2020, our legal experts were able to win our client a $260,000 payout, after he tripped while walking in Sydney’s Central Business District. The man was returning to work from his lunch break along a public pavement when, swerving through the crowd, he tripped on the side steps of a building and sustained an ankle injury that required surgery. The injury ultimately hindered our client from pursuing his typically active lifestyle, which included marathons, squash and ‘boot camp’ style events. In addition, the man was let go by his employer shortly after the injury, and the recovery process hindered his ability to hold stable employment.
While proving public liability in such a case may have seemed challenging, the lawyers of Gerard Malouf and Partners got to work, and got results. Our team demonstrated that the steps in question were difficult to see from the sidewalk, due to the slope of the footpath, and no signage was put in place to indicate their presence. To gather the evidence necessary, we conducted multiple site reviews and used the testimony of an orthopaedic surgeon, who spoke to the way our client’s injury prevented him from performing repetitive movements, lifting heavy objects and navigating stairs and uneven slopes.
Once we had our evidence in place, we proceeded in a case against the joint owners and occupiers of the neighboring building, arguing that the owners were responsible for the construction and lack of indicating signage. Our team pushed hard for the highest settlement possible from the owners and ultimately were able to get our client an amount that allowed him to move on from this difficult time in his life.
Commonly asked questions concerning public liability and slip & fall compensation claims
Each case is different, with a number of factors potentially affecting how long it takes to come to a final decision. Despite this, most simple claims should be resolved within 18 months.
In more challenging, complex cases, the process will be longer and could take a few years.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners we have introduced a policy that if any case appears to be overly difficult or unlikely to obtain a good result for the client our lawyers must bring it to the attention of the management team via a detailed pro forms explanation early and then our management team will take all steps possible to ensure it is successful and that we obtain the maximum result for the client.
This is unlike other law firms who often run compensation claims in a mechanical way. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, our injury compensation claims services handle each claim thoroughly and comprehensively prepare it in every aspect.
This is more tedious, more complex and costlier for our firm in some ways but the best result will be achieved every time for our clients seeking accident injury compensation service. It is our professional obligation to strive not just for some justice but for the maximum achievable. This is our core philosophy and what differentiates us from other law firms.
Meet some of the diverse and dynamic compensation lawyers that support our clients with their Public Liability claims.