VIC Seek to Have Public Liability Insurance Cover Injury Costs?

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Wazzo71

Active Member
25 March 2017
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My mother tripped up some steps at the entry to a restaurant in August 2016. She sustained a badly broken wrist for which she was treated at a public hospital that evening. Additionally, she received lacerations and bruising to her face and other areas of her body.

The restaurant manager was on hand and provided some initial assistance (band aid for the cut above the eye and assisted her back to her car). She does not have private health insurance. As of March 2017, she has been advised by her specialist that she will require corrective surgery on the wrist as it has not healed sufficiently and she is still experiencing acute pain. She is planning to undertake this surgery but is advised that she will be placed on a public waiting list (presumably as this is considered elective surgery).

My mother thought it might be a good idea to approach the restaurant owner and seek to have their public liability insurance provider cover the cost of this medical procedure in order to hasten the process and avoid a long wait. She is not seeking compensation for pain and suffering. She just wants to get the surgery done.

Is it advisable to approach the owner and request this? My mother has some reluctance to engage in a complex legal process and thought that acting in good faith with the owner might be a good approach? Or is it more advisable to seek legal representation in the first instance?

Lastly, in spite of my mother's reticence to make a claim for anything outside of medical costs, it occurs to me that she has suffered substantial loss of capacity and did experience significant emotional duress throughout her recovery - and continues to do so with the physical pain she is experiencing currently. Is it feasible that an additional compensation claim could be made for pain and suffering?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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First, assess properly what you want. Do not expect a windfall as compensation/damages in Australia doesn't work that way.

Secondly, get insurance details from the restaurant. Do not admit to anything when talking to the restaurant owner.

Thirdly, talk to a lawyer before the insurance company. I'd expect the lawyer will want to see details of the insurance policy before giving advice.

Fourthly, with all this information think about what steps you want to undertake.

Insurance might be easier than initiating court, but the lawyer can advise you on this.
 

Wazzo71

Active Member
25 March 2017
5
0
31
Thank you, Rod. This is good information.

Reality is that my mother simply wants to have medical costs covered if she is entitled to this and to expedite the process of surgery.

Obtaining insurance provider details from the restaurant may be the way to go in the first instance. Presumably, if the restaurant owner provides these details a claim can be made directly by the claimant? (notwithstanding your suggestion that she consider engaging a lawyer to analyse the insurance policy before approaching the provider)
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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Speak to a lawyer who works in the personal injury space, before you do anything else.
And don't fap around trying to DIY a solution.
 

Wazzo71

Active Member
25 March 2017
5
0
31
Thanks, Tim. Unfortunately my mother has no inclination to undertake a legal process. I suppose you might say she is sanguine about the outcome and would prefer to apply a straightforward approach; come what may. Naive, perhaps. Probably unlikely to achieve any positive outcome, I would imagine. She is preferring to wait for the surgery if a claim is rejected rather than what she sees as the duress of a process.

Still, I appreciate you taking the time to offer your thoughts.
 

Wazzo71

Active Member
25 March 2017
5
0
31
Hi again; re the original question, I have been in touch with the restaurant who inform me that since my mother's accident on their premises last year there is a new owner. I have requested the details of the previous owner but am getting no response, in spite of their undertaking to provide these details when I spoke with their manager. Any suggestions?
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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The new owners "don't want to get involved".

But a letter from her lawyer (it's time for her to get one),
notifying the new owners that if they don't provide the information,
then she will seek it by order anyway, might attract their attention.
 

Wazzo71

Active Member
25 March 2017
5
0
31
Hi Tim - many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. It's actually been very helpful and my mother has now agreed that it is time to see the lawyer, based on this forum thread. With sincere thanks and very warm regards. Warren.