03 October 2023

Public liability claims arise when an individual sustains injuries while on public or private property due to the negligence of the owner or occupier.

Public liability claims arise when an individual sustains injuries while on public or private property due to the negligence of the owner or occupier. Organisations should be held accountable for their duty of care towards the public. In this article, LawAdvice presents a case study of a public liability claim in New South Wales to shed light on the process involved.

Our client visited a popular public square in Sydney, which was managed by the local council. He was an active individual who enjoyed jogging and cycling. While walking along a paved area one sunny afternoon, he encountered a large paver that was very loose, which caused him to fall. It was not apparent that the paver was in any way unsafe until he stepped onto it. As a result of the fall, he suffered a serious knee injury, abrasions, and bruised ribs.

Following the accident, our client immediately contacted the council to report the incident and was issued an incident report number. He also sought immediate medical attention and documented his injuries in detail. Photography was used to capture images of the defective paver, providing crucial evidence for his public liability claim.

LawAdvice initially wrote a letter to the council recording the date, time, and location of the incident, describing the circumstances surrounding the accident and our client’s injuries. We requested any photos and/or footage of the incident as well as requesting maintenance records and details of any prior complaints.

The local council initiated an investigation and assessed the paved area’s overall safety. The council searched their maintenance records and discovered that the area had not been regularly inspected or repaired, indicating a potential breach in their duty of care towards visitors.

LawAdvice collaborated with medical experts to gather comprehensive medical reports outlining the extent of our client’s injuries, stabilisation, and potential long-term consequences. We also collated witness statements, photographs, and any available CCTV footage to establish liability.

Once liability was established, we initiated negotiations to seek compensation for our client’s injuries and associated losses. They considered various factors, such as the severity of injuries, medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and future medical requirements.

After several rounds of negotiations, the council recognised their liability and the potential negative publicity associated with the incident. They offered a settlement to our client, which encompassed his medical expenses, lost income, and a fair compensation amount for his pain and suffering ensuring the settlement was fair and reflective of our client’s losses.

This real-life case provides an example of a public liability claim, highlighting the importance of holding public authorities accountable for ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals using their premises or facilities. Through timely reporting, thorough investigation, and effective legal representation, you can receive compensation as well as bringing attention to public safety concerns.

It is crucial for people to understand their rights and responsibilities in the event of a public liability claim. Consulting legal professionals experienced in public liability claims can ensure a fair resolution and contribute to creating safer public spaces for everyone.

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