What laws govern public liability claims in Queensland?

Published 22 Aug 2018

The Civil Liability Act 2003 governs public liability claims in Queensland. These claims are made for injuries suffered that are not related to a motor vehicle or workplace accident. The injury could have occurred on either private or public property.

Examples of public liability injuries include:

  • Slips and falls in supermarkets or retail stores.
  • An injury caused from an animal attack.
  • An accident that took place at a playground or school.
  • Food poisoning.

Civil Liability Act 2003 guidelines

When an injured person sues someone for negligence that caused the harm, the Act sets out guidelines for determining whether or not the business or person would be at fault. These guidelines indicate that a person has a duty to avoid the risk of harm, and that they would breach their duty if:

  • The risk was foreseeable.
  • The risk was significant.
  • A reasonable person in the same position would have taken precautions.

The court would then need to decide whether a reasonable person would have tried to prevent the risk with considerations such as:

  • The probability that the injury would occur if care wasn’t taken.
  • The seriousness of the possible injury.
  • The burden of taking steps to reduce the risk of harm.

Also according to the Act, there are two elements that contribute to the decision of whether or not a breach of duty caused the injury or harm. These are:

  • Factual causation: that the harm would not have occurred without the breach of duty.
  • Scope of liability: that the responsibility for the injury should be imposed on the person in breach.

The court’s responsibility is essentially to discern whether the injury would have happened without the duty breach and whether or not the responsibility for the injury should be placed on the person in breach.

The next factor would then be determining whether it was an obvious risk that caused the injury – a risk that was common knowledge or evident to a reasonable person. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff (the injured party) to prove any fact that is related to the issue of causation.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury on a private or public property that isn’t related to a car accident or workplace occurrence, our team of experienced lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can assist you with a claim. Get in touch today for more information about our free consultations.

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