Can I make a public liability claim for workplace accidents?

Published 30 Oct 2018

People who are injured in Queensland may be entitled to compensation if they can prove the damage they suffered – whether physical or psychological – was the result of someone else’s negligence. However, separate pieces of legislation govern the different circumstances under which an individual can be injured.

For example, public liability claims fall under the Civil Liability Act 2003. These disputes cover incidents where individuals are injured on public or private property.

But does this include workplace accidents, seeing as these typically occur on an organisation’s private premises? The short answer is no, so let’s explore why.

Understanding Queensland’s liability laws
The word ‘public’ in public liability claims is often misinterpreted to mean the person was injured on public property, such as council-owned land.

However, these claims can cover incidents in supermarkets, theme parks, shopping centres and a range of other corporate environments. A more accurate description is that public liability claims are for when a member of the public is injured.

Employees do not fall within this definition. In fact, Section 5 of the Act specifically excludes injuries where compensation would otherwise be payable under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

Can I still claim?
If you are injured in a workplace accident, you won’t be able to pursue compensation through a public liability claim. Nevertheless, you should still be entitled to workers’ compensation payments.

The money you receive can cover:

  • Lost wages.
  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses.
  • Reasonable travel costs.

You may also be able to claim common law damages for injuries resulting from an employer’s negligence. These payouts could include redress for economic losses, as well as other less tangible aspects of sustaining a serious injury, such as pain and suffering or a drop in your quality of life.

What are my next steps?
The rules surrounding public liability claims and workers compensation can be confusing, which is why you should seek the advice of a specialist personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation. They can assess the case and explain which legislation covers your injuries, before beginning the necessary legal steps.

The no-win, no-fee team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers ensure you don’t pay any costs up front, so you can pursue damages without worrying about the financial repercussions of a losing claim. Make an enquiry today for a free consultation.

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