Slip and Fall Claims and Payouts Australia - Know Your Rights.
When you’re out and about, the last thing you expect is to be injured in a slip and fall. But for thousands of Australians every year, what starts as a regular day out or visit to the shops turns into an injury, medical treatment, time off work, and even surgery. Slip and fall injuries can be serious; full recovery can take months or even years, and in some cases injuries are permanent.
If you’ve been injured, it’s important to understand how slip and fall cases and settlements work in Australia, to make sure you receive everything you’re entitled to. This claims guide answers the most commonly asked questions about slip and fall claims in Australia and includes tips on how to get help with your claim.
Can I claim compensation for my slip and fall accident?
You can claim compensation if:
- You can show that your slip and fall accident could have been avoided if the person responsible for the location had taken action to prevent it
- Your injury results in losses, like time off work or medical bills
Proving liability in slip and fall cases isn’t always simple – a building owner or manager can only be held liable if they knew or should have known about a hazard and did nothing about it.
Take for example a situation where liquid has been spilled on a floor. If the spillage was left for a long period of time without being cleaned up, and this caused you to slip and fall, it’s likely the building manager would be found negligent for not having the right safety procedures in place. But if the slip and fall accident happened within seconds of the spill, then it could be argued that the building manager wasn’t negligent, as they had no opportunity to clean it up.
An experienced slip and fall lawyer will be able to assess your situation and tell you over the phone if you have a strong slip and fall case.
Slip and fall cases and settlement amounts in Australia.
You can get an indication of slip and fall settlement amounts in Australia by looking at cases that have settled in the past. Take for example the slip and fall case of a small business owner who received a settlement of $540,000.
In July 2017, Frank, who owned a newsagency in a small shopping complex in South-West Sydney, took a break to go to the toilet located within the complex. When he got there, he noticed newspaper and cardboard that had been laid across the entrance to the toilet. Unfortunately, he slipped on it and landed hard on his outstretched hands.
Frank suffered full tears of both his rotator cuffs and broken bones in both his wrists. He underwent two operations to repair the severely torn muscles in his shoulders and not long after the accident, he also developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.
Frank’s lawyer, Chantille, determined that the leak had originated from the adjacent fruit shop and one of their staff members was responsible for laying the newspaper and cardboard – in a poor attempt to soak up the water. Chantille also discovered that the centre had no adequate hazard identification system or a regular system to clean the floors of the common areas of the premises.
Every slip and fall case is different, and there’s no standard amount you should settle for. Most importantly, don’t just accept the first settlement offer you receive from an insurer – it’s vital that you get advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer before you accept any offer.
How are slip and fall settlements calculated?
Slip and fall settlement amounts in Australia are calculated based on the extent of your injuries and the expenses you incur. They tend to range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When you make a slip-and-fall claim, your total settlement may include amounts for:
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Travel expenses
- Domestic assistance
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent impairment
- Future losses
Slip and fall injuries can take time to stabilise and may even worsen over time. For example, an injured leg can lead to a limp that causes hip and back problems. So it’s important that you don’t simply claim compensation for your obvious injuries, or accept an early settlement offer from an insurer. A good slip and fall lawyer will take time to get to know you personally, gather all the evidence and argue your case on your behalf. This can make a big difference to your settlement amount.
What should I do after a slip and fall accident?
To give your slip and fall case the best chance of success, keep thorough records that can be used as evidence.
You should report the accident to the person responsible for the property as soon as you can. This could be a:
- Store or shopping centre manager
- Building manager
- Local authority, like a council
- Homeowner or landlord
If the slip and fall accident happened in a retail or business property:
- Ask for the name of the staff member you speak to
- Make sure they make a full slip and fall accident report
- Take photos of the spillage or hazard that caused your accident
- You should also get the names and contact details of any witnesses
Again, don’t be tempted to accept an early settlement. Injuries take time to stabilise, and complications can take some time to develop. It’s very likely you’ll get a much higher settlement if you get help from a specialist slip and fall lawyer who will make sure all of your injuries are assessed thoroughly once they’ve stabilised.
How long do you have to report/sue for a slip and fall?
Slip and fall claims in Australia can be made up to three years from the date of the accident. In some cases, this can be three years from the date you first realised you were injured. However, it’s best to report the accident immediately – you might find it harder to produce the evidence you need to make a claim if you wait too long.
- If you can’t report the slip and fall accident because you’re injured and undergoing treatment, report the accident as soon as possible afterwards.
- The sooner you report the slip and fall the better your chances of proving liability.
- If you can’t return to the accident location because of your injuries, ask someone to go there on your behalf.
If you’re concerned about being too late to claim, you can call 13 15 15 and get free legal advice on your options.
Who’s responsible for slip and fall accidents?
Retailers, building managers, and landlords have a duty of care to visitors. If you slip and fall in a public building or place, and the accident was caused by negligence (or a breach of duty), then they’re responsible for the accident. However, if the slip and fall wasn’t due to a breach of duty of care, then the building manager isn’t responsible. Specialist slip and fall lawyers can generally assess your situation over the phone and tell you who they think is responsible for the accident.
Are slip and fall claims hard to win?
Usually, to win a slip and fall compensation claim you need to show that the owner or manager of the property had knowledge of the slip hazard but didn’t take action in a reasonable time frame. You’ll need evidence that the owner knew about the dangerous situation. So the success of your case will depend on the quality of the evidence you can produce to support your claim.
Our public liability lawyers have extensive experience in slip and fall claims and can take care of the whole process for you, including compiling all the evidence like CCTV footage, witness reports, cleaning records, and other documentation. We win over 99% of our cases, and you can call us on 13 15 15 to get free legal advice on your claim.
What makes a good slip and fall case?
For your slip and fall case to succeed, you need to identify who was responsible for your safety at the accident location and establish that they were negligent. So successful slip and fall claims are commonly made in locations where responsibility is more easily identified, such as:
- Shops and supermarkets – like Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, and Westfield shopping centres
- Cafes, restaurants, and bars
- Fast food chains – like McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, and KFC
- Sport and recreation facilities including gyms, pools, and water parks
- Commercial buildings
- Airports and cruise ships
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall at one of these locations and suffered losses, and it can be shown that your accident was caused by negligence, then it’s likely you have a good slip and fall case.
How long do slip and fall settlements take?
Most slip and fall claims in Australia settle out of court and take around six to 12 months to resolve after your injuries have stabilised. If you’re unable to settle and you need to take court action to get compensation it can take considerably longer – often around 12-18 months.
The quickest way to get a settlement is to use a specialist slip and fall lawyer to pursue your claim on your behalf. An experienced lawyer will build the evidence for your claim and negotiate on your behalf to get an out-of-court settlement in the shortest possible time frame. Many lawyers will also work for you on a no win no fee basis, so you only need to pay them after you receive your settlement.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law and spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, with the best part of 20 years’ experience in assisting injured Australians receive everything they’re entitled to.
Do I have a case?
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