Cairns Injury Lawyers | Injury Lawyers
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Public Liability Lawyer Cairns

I have been injured in a public space. Am I entitled to compensation?

In most cases, if you have been injured in a public space you are entitled to compensation from the public liability insurer of that property.

Public spaces include places like shopping centres, hotels or motels, parks, footpaths, daycare centres, schools, and even a friend or family member’s house.

What types of accidents are covered?

Public liability covers a range of accidents, including slips and falls, physical assault, dog attack, accidents on sports grounds or in schoolyards, and boat and plane accidents.

How do I start the public liability claims process?

To start the claims process, you need to give a Notice of Claim to the person or entity that owned or controlled the space where you were injured.

That person or entity will send the Notice of Claim to their public liability insurer, who will then take over the claim process and be responsible for paying the compensation.

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How long does a compensation claim take?

The duration of a claim is different in every case. For example, for catastrophic injuries a claim will take considerably longer to resolve than a claim for relatively minor injuries. The duration of your claim can also be affected by the following factors:

  • the nature and extent of medical evidence required, particularly in the case of a multi-injury claim
  • whether the claim is settled before trial (informally, at compulsory conference or mediation)
  • the duration of any legal proceedings, including the trial.

How much compensation can I claim?

The amount of compensation you can receive will vary, depending on factors such as:

  • the severity of your injury, and the medical treatment that you need
  • the extent to which the injury has affected your ability to work
  • how much you earn
  • your age.

Who pays for the public liability compensation?

In most public liability claims, the respondent to a claim will have a public liability insurance policy with a large corporate insurer. The insurer is responsible for paying the compensation to successful claimants.

If the respondent does not have insurance, or has voided their policy, the respondent will be directly liable to pay the compensation.

Claims payout

Once you come to an agreement with the insurer for compensation, or you receive judgment from a court, the insurer will usually pay the compensation amount to your lawyer’s trust account. 

Before the payment is made, the insurer will deduct any statutory refunds you are liable to reimburse, including:

  • Medicare: for any medical treatment benefits you received while injured, for which you have now been compensated.
  • WorkCover: for rehabilitation expenses that WorkCover paid on your behalf, for which you have now been compensated.
  • Centrelink: any money you may owe for pension or social security benefits you received while injured, for which you have now been compensated.

Your lawyer will then also deduct their fees and costs for representing you, and you will receive what’s left.

How much does it cost to pursue a claim?

Legal costs associated with a claim will vary, and will depend on things like the:

  • type of claim
  • nature, extent, and number of injuries you suffered
  • nature and extent of the medical evidence required
  • need to obtain accounting evidence
  • need to engage barristers/Queen’s Counsel (QC)
  • duration of the claim, and number of stages involved.

In Queensland, every law firm is required to comply with the 50/50 rule which caps the amount of costs that law firms are entitled to charge at no more than 50% of your net settlement amount.

How do I choose a public liability lawyer?

We encourage clients to do some research to find a lawyer that best meets your needs. For some guidance, read our article, Five questions to ask any compensation lawyer before you hire them.

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