Occupier's Liability Claims
If you are injured whilst on someone else’s property, this is sometimes known as an occupier’s liability claim. Examples of such claims are slips, trips and falls in supermarkets or shopping centres, injuries sustained on leased premises, injuries in car parks, injuries in hotels or clubs, injuries on building sites or injuries on any premises that are owned or leased by someone else.
In 1987 the High Court decided in a landmark case known as Australian Safeway Stores Pty Limited v Zaluzna that occupier’s liability should be dealt with in the same way as normal negligence.
The law in NSW for negligence is governed by the NSW Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).
To make an occupier’s liability claim in NSW, you still need to establish that the occupier of the premises owed you a duty of care and that they have breached that duty of care. The test of whether a duty of care has been breached is whether it was reasonably foreseeable that someone could sustain an injury and whether the defendant did what was reasonably necessary to prevent such an injury from occurring.
Examples could be a slip on a piece of food in a supermarket. A supermarket owes a duty to anyone entering upon their premises that the floor is clean and any spills are removed as soon as is reasonably practicable. If the spilled substance is on the floor for an unreasonable period of time, then the occupier will be found liable to pay compensation.
What compensation can be claimed?
If you can establish negligence against an occupier you are entitled to claim the following types of damages:
- Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life - this is a lump sum amount payable for the pain you have suffered as a result of the injury and the effects that the injury has on your life. The maximum amount payable is now close to $600,000.00.
- Out of pocket expenses – you are entitled to claim the cost of any out of pocket expenses which include payment for medical treatment and any other expenses you have incurred as a result of the injury.
- Loss of income – you are entitled to claim both past and future loss of income that is caused by the injury.
- Care and assistance – you are entitled to claim domestic assistance provided to you for free by family and friends or paid commercial care by a cleaner or a gardener for example. Such compensation is paid as a one off lump sum amount at the conclusion of any claim.
Are there time limits to make a claim for occupier’s liability?
Yes, there are time limits in which to proceed with these types of claims. Usually you must proceed with this type of claim within three years from the date of which you knew or ought to have known you had a right to make a claim. Generally, it is best to ensure that you seek legal advice within three years from the date of your injury.
Every claim for compensation is different and the success of any claim depends on the circumstances of how the injury happened. It is therefore important to do the following if you have sustained an injury:
- Report the injury to the occupier or owner of the premises.
- Take photographs of the area where you sustained injury.
- Take photographs of the injury.
- Seek appropriate medical attention.
- Consult with an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.
If you need assistance with your occupier’s liability claim, please do not hesitate to contact us as follows: