Injured on Public Footpath, How Do I Claim Public Liability Injury Claims

You don’t expect to suffer an injury when you’re out walking, whether you are shopping or simply having a leisurely stroll. However, trips and falls on public footpaths and walkways can sometimes result in serious injuries. If you do suffer an injury, you may be entitled to lodge public liability claims for compensation from the body charged with maintaining the area, which could be the local council or another entity. Read on to find out more about public liability injury claims.

What types of accidents can occur on walking tracks and footpaths?

While there is really no limit to the types of accidents you could sustain on public walking tracks and footpaths, some are more common than others. Common accidents in these areas may include:

  • Tripping on uneven walkways
  • Tripping or slipping on poorly maintained steps
  • Tripping or falling as a result of fallen tree branches

It’s important to note that for a successful compensation claim, you must establish negligence on the part of the entity that should maintain the area in which you had the accident. For example, if you tripped on your own untied shoelace, this doesn’t show negligence.

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What type of injuries may lead to accidents in public place claims?

While many injuries can occur in public places, certain criteria must be met before you may be entitled to public liability injury claims. Cuts, scrapes and bruises that will heal quickly aren’t usually considered compensable. The injury must be considered ‘significant’, as determined by the American Medical Association Guides. Therefore, the injury must result in:

  • A minimum 5% ‘whole person impairment’ (WPI) for spinal injuries;
  • More than 5% WPI for other physical injuries; or
  • More than 10% WPI for psychological injuries.

Examples of injuries that may be considered ‘significant’ are broken bones, spinal injuries, head injuries, major cuts or dislocations. This is not an exhaustive list, nor do all of these injuries automatically lead to compensation.

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How to avoid injury on public footpath

Such is the nature of human injuries, some can be avoided and others can’t. The best way to avoid injuries while walking in public areas is to remain attentive. For example, watch the path in front of you rather than using your phone while walking. Paying attention to your surroundings can mitigate the risk of injuries considerably.

You should also be attentive to signs that may notify you of roadworks, slippery surfaces or other hazards in the area. You should also ensure you use public walkways correctly. For example, on shared-use paths, you must be mindful of cyclists and other people using the walkway. Keep your eyes open, pay attention to warnings, and use public walkways in the correct manner to avoid injuries.

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What to do if you were injured on a public footpath

If you’re injured on a public footpath, here are the steps you should follow.

  • Take photos of the place where you sustained your injury. This is useful in case repairs or other works change the condition of the surface after your injury.
  • Obtain contact details for anybody who may have witnessed the accident.
  • Report the injury to the body you feel is responsible for maintaining your accident site. This might be the local council or government, but may also be a private entity.
  • Seek medical advice if needed.
  • Keep records of all out-of-pocket expenses relating to your accident and injury.

If you intend to pursue accidents in public places claims, you may also like to seek legal advice. You should do this quickly because your public liability lawyers will need to investigate the injury to determine if there was negligence on the part of another entity. This is best done sooner after the accident, rather than later.

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Whether you’re in Stone’s Corner, Camp Hill, Mt Gravatt or elsewhere in Queensland, our no-win, no-fee personal injury lawyers are available to discuss your needs. Reach out to us today, and we’ll be happy to assist with public liability injury claims.

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Date Posted: November 14, 2023