It is clearly important that any injured person obtains expert legal advice before actually making a claim. If you lose the claim in Court, they can order the injured person to pay the legal costs of whoever they sued. The law is constantly changing, and you need to have the help of a Lawyer who is knowledgeable and has empathy for your situation.
The Civil Liability Act has been amended recently and it probably won’t surprise anybody that the amendments are aimed at trying to make it harder for people to successfully make a personal injury claim. One particular amendment which has been decided upon by the NSW Courts recently is section 5L of the (Civil Liability Act) which says that a Defendant (ie someone that you would sue) is not liable for harm suffered by a person if the injury is “as a result of the materialisation of an obvious risk of a dangerous recreational activity engaged in by the Plaintiff.” This restriction applies even if the Plaintiff was not aware even of the risk involved.
There have been several recent cases decided by the Supreme Court of NSW and by the Court of Appeal (NSW) dealing with Section 5L. In one case, a person was injured at a Greyhound racing track while the injured person was voluntarily assisting the club by operating what was known as the “catching pen gate”. The Injured person was momentarily distracted by a dog that had fallen when what was known as the lure (the object that the dogs chase) struck him at around 70kms p/h.
The Civil Liability Act says said that a “recreational activity” included “any pursuit or activity engaged in for, relaxation or leisure” and “any activity engaged in at a place (such as beach, park or other public open space) where people ordinarily engage in sport or any pursuit or activity for enjoyment, relaxation or leisure”.
The Court said that Greyhound racing fitted within that definition of recreational activity and the risk to the injured person was an obvious risk of serious injury. The injured person is held to have to voluntarily taken upon themselves the risk of this injury so no one else is liable.
In another case, a person slipped and fell over on a boat ramp. It was held that the circumstances where such that there was an obvious risk of serious injury whilst the person was undertaking a recreational activity. It is important that your case is put forward in a way that gives you the best possible chance of not being caught by such restrictions in the law.
What Should you do?
Here at Adams and Partners Lawyers there are several people who are experienced and knowledgeable in relation to personal injury claims and who can provide you with good sensible Advice. Contact our office today.
Written By Bruce Coode.