Can I Claim Compensation If My Child Is Injured in a Public Place?

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Yes, in some cases, you can claim compensation if your child is injured in a public place in Queensland due to someone else's negligence. As the parent or legal guardian, you have the right to pursue legal action on their behalf to help them recover from their injuries and safeguard their future.

Understanding Negligence and Duty of Care

Just as with adult public liability claims, the foundation of claiming compensation for your child rests on these key elements:

  • Duty of Care: The business, organization, or individual in control of the public place has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure your child's safety.
  • Breach of Duty: They failed to fulfill the above duty of care. Examples  include not fixing a known hazard, inadequate supervision for the setting, or providing insufficient warnings or safety measures.
  • Injury and Loss: The breach of duty directly caused your child to be injured, and they have suffered losses as a result.

Special Considerations for Child Injury Claims

There are some additional factors to consider when pursuing a public liability claim on behalf of your child:

  • Age of the Child: The court takes into account the child's age when determining if the responsible party acted reasonably. For example, a playground must provide a higher level of safety than a construction site to protect children who are naturally curious and less able to perceive danger.
  • Child's Vulnerability: Children are typically considered more vulnerable than adults, so businesses operating in spaces where children are likely to be present often have a higher duty of care.
  • Long-Term Impact: Injuries sustained in childhood can have long-lasting consequences. Your child's claim can seek compensation for future medical treatments, therapy, lost earning potential, and the ongoing impact of the injury on their life.

Time Limits for Child Injury Claims in Queensland

In Queensland, the typical time limit for making a public liability claim is three years from the date of the injury. However, there are special rules for children:

  • Minors: The three-year time limit does not start counting down until the child turns 18 years old. This allows time for the full extent of their injuries and long-term impact to become clear.
  • Exception: A claim may still need to be lodged earlier (with legal advice) to ensure all evidence is preserved or if the injury occurred at a government-owned location.

How Parents Become Legal Guardians

Parents are generally the natural legal guardians of their children. This gives them the right to make decisions on their child's behalf, including pursuing a legal claim. In cases of separation or other circumstances, a formal legal guardianship may be granted through the courts.

Examples of Child Injury Public Liability Claims

  • A child is injured by a falling object on display at a supermarket due to improper shelving/storage.
  • A child trips over a broken tile in a school bathroom.
  • A child is injured at a community festival due to a faulty amusement ride.
  • A child suffers severe food poisoning at a daycare center.
  • A child is bitten by a dog at a local park.

What to Do if Your Child is Injured in a Public Place

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Get immediate medical care for your child and keep detailed records of all diagnoses, treatments, and appointments.
  2. Report the Accident: If possible, report the incident to the owner or manager of the location where the injury occurred.
  3. Preserve Evidence: Take photographs of the area where the injury occurred, the hazard involved, and any visible injuries to your child. Get contact information from any potential witnesses.
  4. Consult a Lawyer: A personal injury lawyer specializing in child injury cases can assess your situation, determine the liable party, and guide you through the legal process.

Expert Public Injury Claims Advice

At Smith's Lawyers, we understand how distressing it is when a child is injured. We're dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured children and their families.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation 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 ensures your family won't incur any upfront legal costs unless your claim is successful.

Last updated:
May 15, 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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