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Public Liability Claim

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What type of accidents are covered by public liability claims?

Someone might be liable for an injury that did not occur on the road or that were not the fault of your employer. If someone owed a duty of care to you, and they breached their duty of care, then you may be entitled to bring a liability claim.

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Examples of these liability injuries include:

  • Accidents in public places (e.g. being injured on public property that was unsafe or had unsafe systems)
  • Accidents in private places (e.g. bring injured on private property that was unsafe)
  • Accidents at work but they were caused by someone other than your employer
  • Injuries caused by a person behaving in a negligent manner
  • Accidents caused by plant, equipment, tools or products (product liability claims)
  • Injuries caused by medical negligence or negligence of a professional
  • Accidents caused by poor design, construction or maintenance of buildings, roads, pathways or infrastructure
  • Injuries by tenants
  • Injuries by people visiting a home

Who can I sue?

Claims under the public liability regime in Queensland are governed by the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act – commonly known as a “PIPA” claim.

Unlike WorkCover or motor vehicle CTP claim, there is usually no common insurer. The claim will need to be served directly on the company or person who was at fault.

Companies or businesses ought to have insurance to respond to the claim (e.g. public liability insurance or professional indemnity insurance). Individuals with home & contents insurance often have a personal liability component of their insurance policy.

If the respondent does not have insurance, then they will be responsible for paying any damages themselves. If the injury occurred because of a crime, then an alternative source of compensation could be through the Victims of Crime compensation scheme.

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Why should I act fast?

Claims under the public liability regime must be served promptly on the person at fault. It is also important to act quickly to make sure that important evidence is captured.

It is also wise to serve the claim quickly in case there is a risk that the respondent may go out of business or be difficult to locate.

Is the person at fault obliged to pay for my rehabilitation or my income or wages whilst I recover?

Unfortunately not. Unlike work injury claims or motor vehicle claims, the other side in a public liability claim is not obliged to pay for any medical treatment or wages during your initial recovery phase. If you have incurred expenses or lost wages, those amounts can be claimed as part of your claim. But you won’t recover these amounts until your claim settles.

However, if you sustained your injury at work, then you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. For more information on workers compensation claims, please click here.

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What can I recover?

If you succeed in showing that the respondent is at fault, then you can recover damages including amounts to compensate you for pain and suffering, past economic loss, loss of future earning capacity, superannuation on your economic loss, out of pocket expenses incurred, future expenses to manage the impact of the injury, amounts for care and assistance provided to you. You may also be entitled to a contribution towards your legal costs.

No one caused my injury – I just had an accident – what are my options?

If your accident occurred whilst working, or on the way to or from work, you may also be able to get workers compensation benefits if you are an employee under the Queensland workers compensation scheme. For more information on workers compensation claims, please click here.

You may also have insurance benefits attached to your superannuation accounts, such as salary continuance or income protection or Total Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance policies.
We can help you investigate whether you can make these claims.

You may also be eligible to apply to participate in the National Disability Insurance Scheme and get funding for supports and services to assist manage your disability

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What deadlines do I need to know about?

There are important deadlines that apply to public liability claims:

You need to lodge your Notice of Claim with the person at fault within 1 month of engaging a lawyer or 9 months from the date of accident. If it is lodged outside that time frame, you will need to provide an explanation for the delay.

Court documents then need to be lodged within 3 years from the date of accident.

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