Public liability claims help people secure compensation when they are seriously injured due to the negligence of an individual or organisation while at the defendant’s property.
Some of the more common claims are for slips, trips and falls in supermarkets, restaurants and other places of business. The plaintiff must typically prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care and that this obligation was breached because of negligent acts.
Unfortunately, not all public liability claims are successful, as one woman recently discovered after pursuing damages against both a well-known supermarket chain and her employer.
The plaintiff, a merchandiser, injured herself while checking product presentations at a supermarket store in Narooma, New South Wales. The woman was using a stool to monitor goods on high shelves and stepped off backwards into a trolley being manoeuvred by a customer.
According to court documents, the collision caused her to fall and seriously injure her back and knee. She argued that both the supermarket and her employer, a marketing and sales firm, were negligent in failing to address the risks that people could be injured performing merchandising checks.
The woman was unsuccessful in the opening trial, with the judge ruling that while both organisations owed her a duty of care, neither had committed breaches.
Appealing the decision
The plaintiff decided to appeal the original ruling, which stated that the risk was not significant enough to warrant the businesses taking exceptional safety measures other than those already provided.
When filing an appeal, claimants should always seek advice from experienced personal injury lawyers in NSW who can give appropriate guidance on whether or not proceeding is the best course of action.
In this case, the woman’s appeal was unsuccessful on several counts. One of her complaints was that the original judge erred in suggesting the probability of an injury was slight. She also believed a plastic barricade should have been erected to prevent collisions occurring while performing her duties.
However, the appellate judges felt their peer had not made mistakes in the original decision and reiterated the same position. As such, the woman’s claim was again rejected and she was forced to pay costs.
This case highlights the importance of enlisting the services of a no-win, no-fee law firm when pursuing compensation for supermarket accidents. A no-win, no-fee structure means plaintiffs will not be left out of pocket if their claim is unsuccessful because their lawyers cover all the upfront costs and only receive payment if they win.