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Slip and Fall Injury Compensation Claim

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Do I have a right to compensation if I get injured in a public place?

If you are injured in a supermarket, shopping centre or a similar public place due to that business’s negligence or actions, you may be entitled to compensation. This is known as a public liability claim (or ‘slip and fall’).

Common slip and fall injuries occur due to:

  • food and drink spills on the floor
  • rainy weather causing slippery floors
  • electrical cords, mats, rugs and other objects on the floor
  • poor lighting making it hard to get around safely
  • lack of signage, safety barricades and rails
  • faulty or broken equipment.

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When business owners have strict cleaning and maintenance procedures in place, these issues are dealt with quickly and keep everyone safe. However, sometimes their procedures are sloppy or slow and people can get hurt as a result.

A serious injury could prevent you from earning a living while you recover and paying huge medical bills for treatment and rehabilitation. If this happens to you, a specialist “slip and fall” public liability injury lawyer can advise you on your options. Here is some information to get you on your way.

Establishing fault

Supermarkets, shopping centres and other businesses have a duty of care to ensure their premises meet health and safety guidelines and are safe for staff, customers and visitors to enter and use. Unfortunately, nothing is fool proof and accidents happen – that’s why businesses are required to maintain public liability insurance. This ensures that they can compensate an injured party if they hurt themselves on the property. If you believe you were injured because of the business’s negligence in their duty of care, you need to prove it.

Generally, you need to prove that the business had a duty of care in the first place. If you enter a public business and have a legal right to be there, they owe you a duty of care.

To file a compensation claim and be successful in receiving a pay-out from the insurance you will need to prove that they failed in that duty of care – which means they did not have the adequate resources or preventative measures in place to ensure your health and safety. 

For example, they may have left spilled water on the floor and not cleaned it up or warned anyone with signs. Finally, you need to prove you were injured or suffered a loss as a direct result of their failed duty of care.

As well as proving the business owner was at fault, you need to show that there was no way you could have reasonably prevented the incident yourself. And that you didn’t cause the incident through your negligence.

What records to keep after you experience a slip or fall in a public space.

To prove that you have the right to claim for public liability, you need to keep any records that relate to your injury.

Firstly, you should go to the doctor, so they can assess your injuries. Keep your medical records handy and any receipts for out-of-pocket expenses you incur, as they may be reimbursed as part of the compensation.

If you or someone else can get statements from witnesses that would be ideal. Similarly, if you were able to take photos, that would help your claim. It is possible because you were hurting, you may not have thought to take photos of the incident at the time!

You should also report the slip and fall incident to the business where you were injured so they are aware of it, and keep all records of your communication with them.

Getting legal help for a slip and fall injury

You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, as there are time limits for claiming slip and fall compensation.

Hiring someone to represent you, such as a personal injury lawyer who specialises in public liability cases like this, will increase your chances of receiving a successful payout. Main Lawyers helps people who have suffered loss, illness or injury get compensation if they’re entitled to it. They can help you make a compensation claim for costs such as medical expenses, lost income and other relevant costs.

Main lawyers have a ‘No Win, No Fee’ policy, so you don’t have to pay legal fees unless your case is successful and you receive compensation. You can discuss this at your first appointment with the lawyer and find out how much you would pay if successful.

If you are unsure whether you are entitled to compensation, contact an expert at Main Lawyers to discuss your situation.

Types of compensation for slip and fall injuries

The amount of compensation you could receive would depend on many factors, including the extent to which the business owner was negligent and the severity of your injury or loss – the difference between how your life was and was likely to be before the event, and how it is after the event.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for these types of costs:

Medical costs

As well as your immediate medical costs after your injury, you might be able to claim the cost of future medical expenses, including tests, scans, operations and physiotherapy.

Economic loss

This relates to earnings or income you may have lost or will lose in future as a result of your injury, illness or loss. It could also include superannuation. Here is one example:

In 2020, an Australian woman filed a claim against Woolworths after she injured her back, shoulder and hip after slipping on some fruit in 2015 – in fact, she needed a hip operation. She says that she was unable to finish her university degree as a result and still struggles to find work now. She is now claiming compensation for past economic loss and also future economic loss. Read more about this case.

Pain and suffering

This type of compensation is also called general damages. It relates to how much pain and suffering you experienced due to your injury or loss and how it has impacted and will impact, your quality of life.

It’s not as simple to calculate as medical bills, but there is legislation to help determine the amount. In Queensland, it’s called the ISV Scale, which gives a number between 0 and 100 based on the type and severity of your injuries, and their impact on your life.

Home help or care

This compensation enables you to get help with domestic duties while you are injured, including household duties and outdoor/gardening assistance.

Out of pocket expenses

This compensation covers other costs, such as travel expenses and past treatment costs that you had to pay due to your injury (for example, if you couldn’t drive and had to pay for taxis).

How to start your public liability claim

If you think you might have a case, the first step is to schedule an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

They will hear what has happened, work out whether you are entitled to compensation and advise you of your options. They will know whether the claim will be difficult, need more proof or even be challenged or denied by insurers, which is common.

Often, this first consultation is free, including at Main Lawyers.

If you are entitled to compensation, your lawyer will start legal proceedings against the business owner responsible for your injury. There are different requirements to follow depending on the type of injury and circumstances of the accident.

In Queensland, your lawyer will claim under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act QLD 2002 (PIPA).

However, this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to go to court. Your public liability lawyer may be able to get a settlement from the responsible party without going to court.

There is a pre-court procedure that happens before anyone goes before a judge. During this time, you may need to be assessed by medical professionals so everyone can get the evidence they need to proceed.

Then the parties attend a compulsory conference. You may not need to speak – that’s why you have a lawyer. Most of the time, these public liability cases are settled at the conference because the parties agree on a fair compensation amount.

If the parties can’t agree, then court proceedings start. It is ideal for the parties to try to agree before it gets to this point.

The time frame for compensation

Every claim is different, but the process for slip and fall compensation can take a while – 12 to 18 months to get to the compulsory conference stage. The more complex or severe your injury or loss, the longer it could take to determine the appropriate amount of compensation for you.

Your lawyer will give you an estimated timeframe at your first appointment. If there are delays from the other party, or you don’t get the compensation you are entitled to, your lawyer can work with the other parties on your behalf to get you what you deserve.

Note: In Queensland, you need to claim public liability compensation with three years of the injury or loss occurring. After that, your claim may be more difficult to win. So it’s best to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so you can get the advice you need.

Please be aware that this is general information and current at the time of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such. You should get legal advice about your specific situation.

For expert advice, call 1800 112 466​ to discuss your matter with one of our experienced lawyers.