Public Liability for a fall

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When we have an accident, it can make a significant difference to our lives, especially if we sustain injuries that prevent us from working, playing sport and other social or leisure activities, or even just not being able to take the dog for a walk. If you have been injured through the negligence of someone else, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. The Civil Liability Act of 2002 offers protection for people injured through a negligent act, and covers many eventualities and situations. Outside the general workplace, one of the places where accidents are most common is in the Supermarket or in Shopping Centres.

What liability do such places have?

A supermarket or shopping centre is supposed to be a safe environment, with the owners having a responsibility to the public to keep it that way. But how many times have you been in a supermarket and seen something spilled on the floor? The operator has a duty to ensure that it is cleaned up immediately so that the floor is not going to cause an innocent shopper to slip on a wet surface and possibly injure themselves. Staff under pressure, may not do the job properly, or fail to put out a sign warning the public of a hazard, or may just fail to check that they have been successful in dealing with the problem. Additionally, they have a responsibility to ensure that the floor is in good condition, level and with no protrusions sticking up that could trip you over.

What eventualities are covered from such failures?

The three major types of accident failure to properly clean a spilled material or of a non-smooth floor are categorised as slips, trips and falls. Generally speaking a slip is caused by a reduction in friction between the floor and your footwear. This may be from a spilled liquid, though some floor surfaces when polished can also become very slippery. A trip is when you encounter an obstacle in your path, or if the ground experiences an unexpected variation in level. A fall is where as a result of the slip or trip, you fall to the floor as a result. From a slip or trip, it is considered a same-level fall. These can become very dangerous if any additional height is involved, or if you land on something hazardous. Safe Work Australia reports thousands of injuries annually from slips, trips and falls causing cuts, bruises, dislocations and fractures. Figures from Australia claim 4 out of 10 major workplace injuries are from slips and trips and are the most common cause for members of the public to injure themselves.

How can I make a claim?

You can file a claim for any slips, trips or falls and if you have received significant injury, you may be entitled to substantial pay-outs, especially if the injuries are serious or debilitating. It is worth discussing your case with your local solicitors, who handle many such cases a year and can properly advise you on filing a claim. Many will operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, which can be very helpful, especially if your injury has put you out of work.

 

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