What is public liability compensation?
In the unfortunate situation that you are involved in an accident in a public place, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. You are potentially able to claim compensation not only for the injuries that you sustain, but for loss of earnings, pain and suffering, medical expenses such as rehabilitation costs, and domestic assistance. There is, however, a time limit of three years following the accident to make a claim.
To be able to make a public liability compensation claim, you must establish:
- That you were owed a duty of care;
- that the duty of care was breached;
- that the person who breached the duty of care should have known that it would cause your injury.
What is not covered by public liability compensation?
Every situation is different, and claims are dependent upon the specifics of the case. The most common personal injury compensation claims result from motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, dust diseases and sexual misconduct.
What can you claim for loss of earnings?
Damages in public liability claims can be made for loss of past and future earnings, as stated in the Civil Liability Act. Financial support may also be offered to family members of the person injured.
The maximum amount that may be claimed is capped at $3,617.40 gross per week as set out in section 12 of the Civil Liability Act, even though the weekly payment amounts are based on a claimant’s pre-accident income.
Compensation for pain and suffering
Once again, every situation is different and the amount that one may claim is dependent on the circumstances of the situation. In NSW, damages for non-economic loss or pain and suffering, are only awarded for injuries that are at least 15 per cent of the most extreme case. The formula for assessing these damages in the Civil Liability Act is as follows:
- determine the severity of the claimant’s non-economic loss as a proportion of a most extreme case. The proportion should be expressed as a percentage;
- confirm the maximum amount that may be awarded… for non-economic loss in a most extreme case. This amount is indexed each year under section 17;
- use the Table (in s 16) to determine the percentage of the maximum amount payable in respect of the claim. The amount payable under this section for non-economic loss is then determined by multiplying the maximum amount that may be awarded in a most extreme case by the percentage set out in the Table.
The current maximum amount of damages that may be awarded for non-economic loss as of October 1, 2018, is $635,000.
Medical costs and rehabilitation treatment
Claims may also be made for past and future medical expenses which can include pharmaceutical expenses, rehabilitation treatment and the cost of travelling to and from medical appointments.
A public liability claim may also help to cover the costs of domestic care such as nursing care and home assistance. These costs will not be awarded, however, unless the court is satisfied that the domestic care is necessary and that the need for the care is as a result of the injury sustained.
Seeking legal advice
If you are involved in an accident, it is advisable that you seek legal advice to ensure you can access the compensation you may be entitled to as you recover.