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Stuart Barnett is our mining industry’s leading personal injury lawyer. This month he has some important advice in relation to some coverage that you may not realise you have in your Home Building, Landlord or Contents Insurance policy.

Have you ever thought or indeed worried about what would happen if a visitor to your property injured themselves or suffered a fatal injury due to your negligence or failure to keep the place safe? Alternatively, what if the negligent actions of yourself or a member of your family led to someone being injured or killed, even away from your property?

Many people don’t realise that there is often insurance coverage in these circumstances. The home or investment property owners out there will likely hold Building or Landlord Insurance policies and renters may well have Contents Insurance policies. These policies often include coverage against public liability claims.

Public Liability insurance is designed to protect you if your actions, inactions, negligence or condition of your property is found to cause a person to have been injured or killed. There are two potentially expensive aspects to such a claim, firstly the cost of litigation itself and secondly the actual compensation ordered to be paid. Both components in their own right could place a great financial burden upon you or at least cause you to have to sell your assets to resolve the claim. The combination of the two could be financially and mentally devastating.

This type of insurance is not a license to ignore your responsibilities or to go out and commit reckless and even deliberate acts. There will be exclusions in your policy. These exclusions will vary from policy to policy, but examples might include deliberate acts such as an assault and acts committed under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Policy owners may also find that members of the immediate family who ordinarily reside with you cannot claim for injury or damage. For example, a child injured as a result of a parent’s negligence may be precluded from claiming.

You might be tempted take the risk and go without insurance, but it is worth considering other expenses that might arise as a result of your or your family’s actions, such as when a public liability claim is made against you. Just like all contracts, it’s all about the wording of the insurance policy document. Please make sure you read and understand any insurance policy that you have or are about to take out, they may include some, all or none of the circumstances I have outlined in this article.

This is general advice and because your individual circumstances will vary, I recommend seeking out specific advice for your needs.

Stuart Barnett

Slater & Gordon Lawyers

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