Claiming Compensation for Slips or Falls

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 27 February 2012

Whether at work, in a private residence, or on public property, those who have been injured due to a slip or fall can obtain compensation. In this article, we examine the major options for individuals who have been injured under any of these circumstances. It’s advisable to seek counsel quickly from compensation lawyers in Sydney or your local area for specific and accurate advice about your particular options for compensation.

Slips or Falls at Work

Under the OHS Act, employers have a duty to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure health and safety at work. They also have a further duty to ensure third parties on or near the workplace are protected from risks to health and safety.

If an employee suffers injury from a slip or fall at work, they may have two different avenues for receiving compensation. The first is under the NSW workers compensation scheme, which is a no ‘fault’ scheme. The second is under the common law as a negligence claim, which will require the demonstration of fault or negligence. The second option may provide entitlement amounts that are significantly higher than those available under the workers compensation scheme.

In a Public or Other Private Areas

Trips, slips, and falls in public areas are common occurrences. In some cases, they may result in a serious injury that attracts compensation. Some common causes of injury in this category include:

  • Injuries arising out of defects on the road, pathway, or pavement.
  • Faulty public equipment, such as swings and playground equipment in a park.
  • Uncovered potholes or bumps in the road, such as broken tarmac or
  • Other unexpected obstacles and obstructions on pathways and pavements.
  • Worn or frayed carpets that catch on shoes.
  • Food and liquid spillage that cause slips and falls.
  • Lack of warning signs in dangerous areas.
  • Poorly constructed or faulty stairs.
  • Uneven flooring in indoor spaces.
  • Overgrown tree roots or branches that hinder walkways.
  • Inadequate lighting that leads to poor visibility.

Who is Responsible?

Generally, the public authority (such as the local council) is responsible for any injuries arising out of faults and risks in the public areas over which they have authority. Similarly, businesses are usually responsible for falls or slips caused by their negligence on their premises. Usually, public authorities and businesses will have public liability insurance which will cover any claims.

What Can You Claim?

If you’re eligible, you may be able to claim for all medical expenses (including rehabilitation), lump sum payments for impairment and pain and suffering, loss of earnings, compensation for home assistance and special needs.

What to Do?

Always seek medical advice as quickly as possible. Notify the business, your employer, home owner, manager, or the local council that you’ve been injured in a timely manner. As every case is different, you should consider seeing personal injury or workers compensation lawyers in Sydney or your city to discuss your options. Your lawyer can help you decide on a best course for obtaining maximum compensation, negotiate with the other party and/or insurers, and bring peace of mind by helping you avoid settling for less than your rightful entitlements.