Slip and Fall Claims Australia - Know Your Rights | Law Partners

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Public Injury, Injury and Rehabilitation | 05 March 2020

Slip, trip and fall compensation claims Australia – know your rights.

Slip, trip and fall accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence in Australia. 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 and includes legal advice, links to other articles and advice on how to get help with slip and fall claims.

 

Can you claim compensation for slip and fall accident?

If you’re injured in a slip and fall accident you can sue if the following 2 requirements are met:

  • First, you need to show that your slip and fall accident could have been avoided if the person responsible for the premises 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 sue for losses you’ve incurred. 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.

 

Slipped on wet floor injury – 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 building roof has leaked making the floor wet. If the water 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 leak 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 fall compensation, however a specialist slip and fall accident lawyer will be able to assess your situation and tell you what are your chances of a successful claim.

 

What is the average slip and fall settlement?

Slip and fall compensation amounts in Australia can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. But even relatively minor injuries often result in tens of thousands of dollars in compensation.

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 will be able to 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 compensation 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 accident lawyer can really help. By gathering all the medical evidence and arguing your case on your behalf, a specialist lawyer will generally get much higher slip and fall compensation amounts than if you simply accept an offer from the insurer.

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Risk of slip and fall accident injury warning sign.
 

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, 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, trips and falls 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 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 accident?

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.

 

Slip on wet floor compensation

Here’s an example of a typical slip fall compensation situation. 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.

 

 
A lawyer filling out a slip and fall claim for a client who is claiming 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 the direct results of the owner/ manager’s negligence

To win slip fall compensation claims you need to show that the owner or manager of the property had knowledge of 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 are typical slip fall claim situations?

Slip and fall claims are commonly made as a result of accidents in the following locations:

  • Shops and supermarkets – like Coles, Woolworths and Westfield shopping centres
  • Hospitals
  • Cafes, restaurants and bars
  • Fast food chains – like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC
  • Sport and recreation facilities including gyms, pools and water parks
  • Airports and cruise ships

 

How long does it take to settle a slip and fall?

Most slip and fall claims in Australia settle out of court and take around six months to resolve. 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 their legal fees after you receive your settlement.

Find out how much you can claim.

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