Have you been injured in a public place?

Play Video


Public Liability

What compensation can you receive?

Every public liability case is unique, and the amount of compensation will vary based on the specific circumstances. Public Liability claims are complicated, so obtaining legal advice is important to ensure that your compensation entitlements are met.

Book Now

The insurer responding to your claim is not required to act in your best interests, so you may miss out on compensation you are entitled to, without the assistance of a lawyer.

Every person is entitled to be compensated for:

  • Pain and suffering up to a maximum of approximately $406,000, depending on the year the injury occurred.
  • Lost earnings up to the date of resolution of their claim.
  • Personal future loss of income up to a maximum of approximately $3.8 million, depending on the year the injury occurred.
  • Business loss of income.
  • Assistance provided by a family member.
  • Future personal care, housework and gardening costs, if required.
  • Medical expenses.

So what are your chances of winning your case?

Several factors can influence your chances of winning a public liability claim. These include:

  • The evidence available to support that a person or business has been negligent or intentional in committing an act that has caused your injury.
  • The injury and loss suffered, and the extent of the injury and loss suffered.

Our lawyers will assist in obtaining all the necessary evidence and give you advice to build a strong case.

It is important to note that the outcome of each case will depend on its specific circumstances and facts. Consultation with a personal injury lawyer can help determine the best course of action in your specific case.

What fees are involved?

At MKF Lawyers, we operate on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, so if your claim is unsuccessful you do not pay our legal fees. There’s no cost to reach out and have an initial chat about your case. We work on a no win no fee basis for most personal injury claims occurring in Adelaide. This means that you do not pay our legal fees in the event your claim is not successful. We usually work on a no win no fee basis for claims relating to motor vehicle accidents, childhood sexual and physical abuse, dog attacks, medical negligence and total and permanent disability.

How long does the process take? What’s involved?

Factors that can impact the length of time for a public liability claim to be resolved include:

  • Establishing the legal identity of who is responsible.
  • Finding an appropriate expert to provide an opinion about liability in the particular circumstances.
  • Establish who the owner or occupier of the property was at the time.
  • The willingness of the parties to engage in settlement negotiations. If the parties involved are able to reach a settlement, the case can be resolved more quickly than if it goes to trial.

If relevant evidence is difficult to obtain or if multiple experts are needed to provide evidence, it can prolong the resolution of your claim.

As a rough guide, public liability claims can take approximately 18 to 24 months to resolve from the time you engage us.

We will:

  • Step 1: Have a phone call or in person meeting with you to discuss your case.
  • Step 2: Take a statement from you.
  • Step 3: Notify the other party of the claim.
  • Step 4: Obtain relevant medical records.
  • Step 5: Obtain reports from independent lawyers regarding liability and causation.
  • Step 6: Wait for your injuries to reach a point they are not going to get better or worse (stabilised).
  • Step 7: Obtain relevant financial records.
  • Step 8: Obtain reports from treating doctors and independent doctors regarding your injuries.
  • Step 9: Prepare an offer of settlement to commence settlement negotiations.

By following these steps, we'll work together to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

When can a Public Liability claim be made?

The expression ‘public liability’ claim refers to the type of insurance coverage that many property owners and occupiers hold for situations in which an entrant onto the property suffers injury and subsequent damage and losses.

If you sustain injury after entering the property of another, then you may be entitled to claim compensation, if the injury arose due to a situation created by the occupier of the property.  

Common situations that form the basis of public liability claims include: 

  • Tripping over a hazard.
  • Slipping on a hazard such as a liquid spill at a shop.
  • Poor lighting resulting in tripping or falling.
  • A danger on the property, such as a fire, if set up by the owner/occupier of the property. 

​Claims can be made against owners or occupiers of commercial property (such as shopping centres or office buildings), government property or residential property.  

It is very helpful if you reported the incident at the time and a written record of the incident was created by you or the owner/occupier of the property. If you didn’t report the incident at the time, you should report it as soon as possible. 

The owner/occupier may have CCTV footage of the incident but this is often destroyed soon after unless a report is made, but not always. 

It is important to collect evidence early as you need to prove that your injuries were caused by the owner/occupiers negligence.  

What time limits apply to Public Liability claims?

It is necessary for you to provide notice of your claim, in compliance with the Court Rules.  There is specific information that you are required to provide in the notice, so you should contact us to assist.  That notice needs to be provided within 6 months of your injury. 

You have 3 years from the date of the incident to finalise your compensation claim before issuing your claim in Court. You must issue your claim within 3 years of the incident or it will be out of time. Extensions of time can be applied for but may not be granted. 

MKF Lawyers has been recognised as a recommended public liability law firm (as voted by defendant lawyers and barristers) in Doyle's Guide 2023.


Personal Injury Lawyers Adelaide

Frequently Asked Questions

I do not know what caused me to fall over, can I make a claim?

As the person bringing the claim, you have the burden of proving your case. If you cannot prove what caused you to fall over you are unlikely to succeed in your claim.  

Is liability often admitted in public liability claims?

Unfortunately, in our experience, liability (legal responsibility for causing the injury) is not usually admitted. Instead, proving liability is a considerable focus of the initial stages of a public liability claim.  While an insurer responding to a public liability claim is unlikely to admit fault, a negotiated resolution of the matter can be reached with the payment of compensation being made to the injured person.  Having an experienced lawyer acting for you is important so that your entitlements to compensation are protected.

How do legal fees work?

We act on a no win no fee basis on almost every case.  The only time we wouldn't offer a no win no fee, is when a client wants to pursue a claim that we don't believe has a reasonable prospect of success.  

No win no fee means that payment of our legal fees is not required until your claim has resolved and compensation is paid.  The amount of our legal fees will be different in every case and we will provide you with an individualised estimate following our first detailed communication.

How long do public liability claims take to resolve?

In our experience, the time for resolution of a public liability claim depends on the specific situation.  This includes the attitude taken to the claim by the occupier or their insurer, and the complexity of the matter in terms of arguments regarding liability and/or your injuries.

Will the occupier of a shop be found negligent if I slipped on something left on the floor?

If you slipped on something that had only been on the floor for a few seconds, this would not be negligent.  The occupier needs to have a reasonable period of time to become aware of a hazard and remedy the hazard.  If the occupier does not act in a reasonable timeframe, they are likely to be considered negligent.  The evidence needed for a claim will depend on the individual circumstances.  It is important to collect evidence as early as you can so as to prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of the owner/occupier.  MKF Lawyers can discuss with you the type of evidence needed.

Can I make a claim against the local council because I tripped on an uneven footpath? 

The government has passed legislation preventing any claim against a local council for the failure to maintain, repair or renew a road or footpath. You cannot make a claim for tripping on a footpath unless the hazard was placed there by someone other than the council.

Public Liability