Can I Claim Compensation for Assault?


Being assaulted is a frightening and traumatic experience. Whilst you are entitled to bring a public liability claim for compensation against the person who assaulted you directly, unless they have assets, it will generally not be possible. However, you may still be able to seek compensation through a public liability claim in specific situations. 

Public Liability Claims for Assault

In Queensland, you may be able to seek compensation if the assault happened due to a failure of duty of care by a venue or organisation responsible for your safety. 

This means that:

  • There was a duty of care: The venue or organisation had a responsibility to provide reasonable security measures to protect patrons from foreseeable risks of violence.
  • They breached their duty: They failed to take adequate precautions to prevent the assault.
  • Your injury was a result of this: The breach of duty directly led to your assault and injuries.

Examples of When an Assault Claim May Be Possible

Here are some scenarios where a venue might be liable for an assault:

  • Security Guard Negligence: A security guard fails to intervene in a developing physical altercation or doesn't respond promptly to a call for help.
  • Inadequate Security Measures: A bar or nightclub with a history of violence lacks sufficient security personnel or has security that is not properly trained in de-escalation tactics.
  • Poor Lighting: A poorly lit parking lot or building entrance creates an environment where an assault is more likely to occur.
  • Defective Security Equipment: Malfunctioning security cameras or broken locks prevent security from reacting appropriately to an incident.

Scenarios Where an Assault Claim May Be Less Likely

There are situations where claiming compensation due to assault might be less likely:

  • Unforeseeable Assault: If the assault was completely random and unexpected, and the venue had reasonable security measures in place, it might be difficult to prove negligence.
  • Your Own Actions: If you instigated or contributed to the altercation that led to the assault, your claim may be weakened.
  • Open and Obvious Risk: If the risk of violence was clear and you chose to enter the situation anyway, it may reduce your claim's validity. 

Financial Assistance for Victims of Crime in Queensland 

In Queensland, there are also avenues that exist under the Victims of Crime program for recovering compensation if: 

  • You have suffered and have been directly injured as the result of a crime.
  • You have suffered either physically or psychologically from the crime.
  • The crime was reported to the police, a registered medical professional or a family/ domestic violence worker.
  • The crime was committed in the last three years in Queensland. An exception is that it was a sexual offence by a person of power (teacher, religious leader, employer).
  • You are related to a victim of crime.

Please note that this is separate from a personal injury claim and would require advice from criminal lawyers.

If you have suffered from such a crime, there are resources available for victims of crime in Queensland. 

What to Do After an Assault

If you are assaulted, here are some crucial steps to take:

  1. Report the Assault: Immediately contact the police and report the incident.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: Get any necessary medical treatment and keep thorough medical records of your injuries.
  3. Gather Evidence: If possible, collect the names and contact details of witnesses, and take photos of your injuries and the scene of the assault (if safe to do so).
  4. Consider Legal Advice: A personal injury lawyer can assess your situation, determine the viability of a public liability claim, and guide you through the legal process.

Smith's Lawyers - Assault Claim Experts

At Smith's Lawyers, we understand the emotional and physical toll an assault can take. If you believe an assault occurred due to a venue's negligence, we will fight for the compensation you deserve. We offer a free initial consultation, so contact us today on 1800 960 482. 

We service all of Queensland and have offices in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, and Toowoomba. Our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise guarantees you won't pay any upfront legal fees unless your claim is successful.

Last updated:
May 20, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

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