Slip and Fall Claims and Payouts Australia - Know Your Rights.
Slips and falls happen when they’re least expected – one minute you’re going about a regular activity like shopping, and the next you’re on the floor trying to work out what happened. And unfortunately, injuries from slips and falls can be serious.
If you’ve been injured and you’re planning to make a compensation claim, it’s important to know your rights and make sure you receive everything you’re entitled to. This claims guide answers the most commonly asked questions about slip and fall claims and payouts in Australia and includes links to other articles and tips on how to get help with your claim.
Can you claim compensation for slip and fall accidents?
If you’re injured in a slip and fall accident you can claim compensation if the following two requirements are met:
- First, you need to show that your slip and fall accident could have been avoided if the person responsible for the location had taken action to prevent it. This is not 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.
- Secondly, you can only claim for losses you’ve incurred or will incur. So if you’ve had a significant injury, time off work and medical bills, it’s likely to be worth pursuing a claim. But if you’ve just had minor injuries like bruising and you didn’t need any treatment or time off work, it may not be economically viable to claim compensation.
An experienced slip and fall lawyer will be able to assess your situation and tell you over the phone if you have a valid public liability claim. For more information, you can also read our Guide to Public Liability Compensation.
I slipped on wet floor and was injured – can I claim compensation?
You can claim for slipping on a wet floor if you can show that the building owner or manager was negligent. Owners and managers of stores, supermarkets and other public buildings in Australia are not automatically liable if you’re injured in a slip and fall accident – you have to prove that they were negligent to claim compensation.
Take for example a situation where a drink has been spilled on a floor. If the spillage was left for a long period of time and not cleaned up, resulting in a slip and fall accident, it’s likely the building manager would be found negligent by a court of law for not having the right safety procedures in place. However, if the slip and fall accident happened within seconds of the spill happening, then it could be argued that the building manager had no opportunity to clean it up and was therefore not negligent.
It can be tricky to determine whether you have a strong case to claim slip and fall compensation, however, specialist slip and fall lawyers can assess your situation and tell you what are your chances of a successful claim.
How are slip and fall settlements calculated?
Slip and fall compensation amounts in Australia tend to range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your injuries and the expenses you incur. You might be able to claim slip and fall compensation amounts for lost income, medical expenses, travel expenses, domestic assistance, pain and suffering, permanent impairment and future losses. A slip and fall lawyer can assess your situation over the phone and give you an indication of what you might be able to claim.
An important point about slip and fall payouts that’s often missed is that simply claiming for the obvious injury could mean you miss out on significant entitlements. In many cases a slip and fall injury leads to other problems – for example, an injured leg can lead to a limp that causes hip and back problems. This is where a slip and fall lawyer can really help. By gathering all the medical evidence and arguing your case on your behalf, a specialist slip and fall lawyer will generally get a much higher slip and fall settlement amount than if you simply accept an offer from the insurer.
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How much should I settle for a slip and fall?
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 slip and fall settlement offer you receive from an insurer – it’s vital that you get advice from a specialist lawyer before you accept an offer.
However, you can get some indication of slip and fall case settlement amounts in Australia by looking at cases that have settled in the past. Take for example the slip and fall claim made by a small business owner who received a settlement of $540,000.
In July 2017, Frank, who owned a news agency 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.
What should I do after a slip and fall accident?
If you’ve been injured and you plan to make a claim for slip and fall compensation, you should immediately report the accident to the person responsible for the property where you fell.
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 and make sure they make a full slip and fall accident report. Take photos of the spillage or hazard that caused your accident as these can be used as part of your evidence if you make a slip and fall compensation claim. You should also get the names and contact details of any witnesses.
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.
Who is 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 and the accident was caused by negligence (or a breach of duty), then they are responsible for the accident. However, if the slip and fall was not due a breach of duty of care, then the building manager is not 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 and whether you have a valid slip and fall claim.
Slip on wet floor compensation.
Here’s an example of a typical situation that could result in a slip fall compensation claim. If a floor was wet from being recently cleaned causing you to slip and fall and there were no signs to warn you or barriers to prevent you from walking on the slippery surface, then the building manager may be held responsible, and you could be entitled to slip and fall compensation. However, if there were clear signs in place to warn you not to walk on the surface, the building manager is much less likely to be held responsible and it’s unlikely you could claim compensation.
Are slip and fall claims hard to win?
Slip and fall claims can be complex, however, you’ll have a strong case if you can show that:
- The building owner or manager had a duty of care to you
- You suffered injuries that resulted in financial losses
- Your injuries and losses were a direct result of the owner/ manager’s negligence
Usually, to win slip and fall compensation claims 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 timeframe. You’ll need evidence that the owner knew about the dangerous situation.
The onus is on you, the plaintiff, to provide this evidence, and the best way to do that is to get help from a specialist slip and fall lawyer who will pursue the claim on your behalf.
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What makes a good slip and fall case?
Successful slip and fall claims are commonly made as a result of accidents in the following locations:
- 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
- Airports and cruise ships
If you’ve been injured in one of these situations and suffered losses, and it can be shown that your accident was a result of 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.
Do I have a case?
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