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Public Liability Claims - Trips, Slips, Falls and Everything in Between

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    12 June 2019

    The last thing we expect when we leave the safety of our own home is to injure ourselves, but at times injuries arise in unexpected circumstances. If you have tripped, slipped, fallen or even had something fall on you (or been injured by other means in a public domain), you may be entitled to make a Public Liability Claim.

    What you need to know about making a Public Liability Claim

    The most crucial component of making a claim is establishing if someone else’s negligence is the cause of your injurie/s. Once negligence is established you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation for your pain and suffering and/or reimbursement for items such as the cost of medical appointments, surgery, medication, lost wages and travel.

    What should I do when I hurt myself?

    At the time of your injury, if the scenario permits, we recommend you or someone you are with does the following:

    -    Take photographs of what caused your injury, for example if you slipped on something take a photo of what you slipped on. It is also helpful to try and take a photo that not only shows what caused your injury but also identifies your location;
    -    Report the incident, this may be to a shop owner, management, security, the local city council or another individual/company responsible for the area in which you are injured. Where possible get the name, contact details and role of the person you report your accident to.
    -    If there are witnesses to your accident, ask them if they are happy to give you their contact details.

    The most important thing to remember is every injury scenario is different and adhering to the above list is helpful but not essential to being able to make a public liability claim. 

    What should I do after my accident?

    Whether your injuries resulted in a trip to the emergency room or resulted in an afternoon on the couch with an ice pack, it is important to visit your GP as close to the date of accident as possible. When visiting your GP, tell them what happened to you and advise them of all your injuries resulting from the accident, even the ones you may think are trivial. Not only will your GP be able to provide advice in respect to treatment of your injuries, their clinical notes play a crucial role in making a public liability claim.

    Your next step should be to get in touch with us as soon as possible, even if you are not sure you want to make a claim yet. The reason we say as soon as possible is that often when an individual is injured in public, their accident has been caught on CCTV footage. More often than not companies will dispose of the CCTV footage after 2-4 weeks; and as a general rule of thumb they will not provide the CCTV footage to a civilian but will provide it to solicitors. If you get in touch with us early enough, we should be able obtain a copy of the footage or ensure that it is not discarded.

    What if I hurt myself in the past?

    There is no need for concern if you have read this after you were injured and haven’t followed the above recommendations. By law you have 3 years from the date of your accident to make a public liability claim and we can talk you through your options.

    Other important things you should know or do?

    ●    Keep a record of medical appointments and ensure you are reporting your symptoms to your doctors.
    ●    Keep receipts for all your out of pocket accident related expenses.
    ●    Every public liability claim is different and making a public liability claim does not necessarily mean you will have to go to court.
    ●    Beware of being asked to sign a release, always seek legal advice before signing a release.

    If in doubt, we can help you navigate the merits of your claim and advise you of your entitlements and the claims process. Contact Zaparas Lawyers today for your obligation free appointment.

    *This piece was written by Dylan Walters, Lawyer in the Zaparas Lawyers Public Liability team.