Many accidents occur away from home. For example, you may be injured whilst on holidays, in a public place (e.g. Council property, such as a park or a footpath), or private property (i.e. a private residence or a shopping centre). If negligence is involved, a claim can be made through the appropriate insurer for the consequential loss you may have suffered. It is not true, as many people believe, that there is nothing they can do about it or that “accidents happen”. You should discuss your situation with us immediately, so we may protect your legal rights and discuss any relevant entitlements.
When claiming damages, you are generally able to seek compensation for:
- pain and suffering;
- past and future treatment expenses;
- loss of income, both past (i.e. to date) and loss of wages in the future;
- assistance with the daily activities of living (e.g. housework).
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What is Public or Product Liability and Who Can Claim?
Public liability and occupiers liability laws protect you if you are injured in an accident that occurs on public or private property. If you were injured somewhere other than at work or in a motor vehicle accident you may have a public liability claim.
What do public liability claims cover?
- Accidents at shopping centres
- Playground and schoolyard accidents
- Injuries sustained in sporting activities
- Slips and falls in supermarkets or other retail outlets
- Injuries caused by animals, e.g dog attacks
- Falls on public or private property including parks, gardens and footpaths
- Food poisoning.
If you have been injured as a result of a faulty, defective or not t for purpose product you may be entitled to make a compensation claim for your injuries.
To make a successful product liability claim, it must be established that the manufacturer and/or distributor has supplied a product that is unsafe, defective or not t for purpose or has inadequate warnings.
Examples of product liability claims include:
- Defective medical prostheses, implants or devices
- Defective consumer goods and household appliances
- Faulty machinery, cars or components
- Unsafe chemical products or pharmaceuticals Most importantly, you should obtain advice from The Lawyer before signing any documentation or responding to any settlement offer from the other party, or you may lose your right to claim damages. You should contact us as soon as possible after the injury, because strict time limits apply for making a claim.
We Want You to Understand the Legal Process, Step by Step.
Most cases settle before they get to court. The reason is simple. We assess each case very thoroughly, and we only advise clients to pursue compensation or damages when there is a clear likelihood of a successful outcome. While each claim is unique, the process will generally follow the below distinct stages:
You tell us exactly what has happened to you. We review the details of the incident and tell you if your case has good prospects for success or if it does not. There are no costs to you for this advice, and you are under no obligation to proceed with legal action. Should you choose to make a claim, we submit a Notice of Claim to the other party notifying them of your intention to pursue a claim and the circumstances of your case within one month of the initial consultation.
The insurer investigates your claim to determine if they will accept liability in full or in part, or will deny that they are liable for your injuries. We continue to obtain updates from you in relation to your injuries, treatment, requirement for assistance, the status of your employment and so on. In some cases, it is appropriate for The Lawyer to liaise with the insurer to ensure that they assist you in obtaining rehabilitation for your injuries.
We compile evidence to assist in proving your claim to the insurer, including medical, taxation, nancial and employment records. We may also obtain expert medical reports depending on the nature of your injuries; and you may be required to attend medical examinations with specialists of the insurer’s choosing. Reports from experts in other elds that relate to your case may also be sought at this stage.
We give you an assessment of the amount you can reasonably expect as a settlement and, with your authorisation, we submit an opening offer to the insurer to commence settlement negotiations. Generally, settlements will be reached through these negotiations. Out-of court settlements are usually in everyone’s best interest because they can resolve the claim faster, and with much less expense, than if the claim proceeds to trial. If a settlement can’t be achieved, we lodge court proceedings on your behalf in the appropriate court.
Once your claim has been successfully settled or judgement has been given in a court, we arrange for you to receive the funds to which you are entitled, and arrange for payment of your legal fees. Should the claim not be successful, The Lawyer does not charge you for legal fees or disbursements.
The actual time taken for a negotiated settlement to be reached will depend on the facts and complexity of your case. Claims that go to the courts will take longer and be subject to the schedules of the court.
Karen is a 52 year old retired teacher and soon to become a grandmother
When Karen was shopping at her local supermarket, she slipped on a puddle of water on the floor of an aisle, causing her to fall to the floor. Karen consequently fractured her hip and had to undergo surgery.
A short time later she called a Lawyer to discuss her situation then arranged that she would meet with one of their Public Liability lawyers for a no obligation first consultation. It was agreed that the Lawyer would represent Karen and they argued on her behalf that the supermarket was required to have a regular system of cleaning and inspection in place and they failed to fulfil the duty of care owed.
An investigation was undertaken to locate witnesses and discover documents to determine the amount of time the water was left on the floor. After ascertaining the full extent of the Karen’s injuries and her future needs, court proceedings were issued and the matter settled soon after mediation.
The case settled on confidential terms, however the Lawyer was able to obtain compensation for the client’s pain and suffering and past and future medical expenses. No claim was made for past and future loss of earnings as the client was retired.
Michael is 9 years old and was injured while at school
Michael was at school using the play equipment during lunch time. He slipped and fell to the ground fracturing his elbow and damaging the growth plate within. Michael’s parents after examining the equipment soon noticed that the equipment was very high from the ground and there was inadequate cushioning fill on the ground.
The parents contacted a Lawyer to seek advice on the situation. Following this, a specialist Product Liability lawyer called the parents to discuss the accident further and arrange a time to meet for an initial no obligation consultation. It was agreed that the Lawyer would represent the family and immediately engaged an expert to comment on the requirements of the play equipment for a child in the client’s age group and found that the equipment and play area in question did not comply with relevant safety standards.
Numerous doctors were also engaged to help in predicting the child’s future needs and potential limitations. Legal proceedings were issued, and the matter settled at mediation.
The Lawyer was able to obtain compensation for their client’s pain and suffering, past and most importantly future medical needs, the care that his parents had provided to him, and an allowance for the impact that his injury may have on his future working capacity. The funds are held in a trust until he turns 18, with deductions made by his parents for his continuing treatment.
Ben is a 39 year old butcher who is married with 2 children
Ben has been a qualified butcher for more than 10 years and was recently injured at work by a special piece of machinery used to carve meat. He was certified to use the machine and would use it on a regular basis. While the machine was in use the cutting blade loosened from the designated slot it was fixed to. With great force the blade made contact with Ben’s hand and wrist causing major tendon and nerve damage to the region. He was immediately transported to hospital to be treated. The doctor diagnosed that he was unlikely to return to work for quite some time and will require considerable rehabilitation.
Ben contacted a Lawyer to discuss his situation and following this, a specialist Product Liability lawyer called Ben to discuss his situation further and arrange a time to meet for his initial no obligation consultation.
It was agreed that the Lawyer would represent Ben and immediately engaged an expert to assess the state of the machinery and whether it was faulty. It was determined through investigation that the machinery was faulty and did not comply with relevant safety standards. Doctors were also engaged to help in predicting Ben’s future needs and potential limitations. Legal proceedings were issued, and the matter settled at mediation.
The Lawyer was able to obtain compensation for Ben’s pain and suffering, past and most importantly future medical needs, the care that his wife had provided to him, and an allowance for the impact that his injury may have on his future working capacity.