Negligence, duty of care and loss

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    We don't give advice about this area of law

    The following content is for general purposes only. Legal Aid Queensland does not provide legal advice in this area. For more information, please contact a lawyer.

    What is a duty of care?

    The law says we all have a duty of care to take reasonable care not to cause foreseeable harm to other people or their property. This is also known as the law of negligence.

    When can I claim for negligence?

    To make a claim you have to show that you suffered a loss because someone breached a duty of care they owed you.

    Some examples are:

    • another driver breached their duty to drive safely by driving through a red light and colliding with your car which was damaged
    • your employer breached their duty to provide a safe place of work by not having a proper system in place for heavy lifting and you injured your back
    • the owner of a shopping centre breached their duty to provide a safe place for you to shop by not fixing faulty doors and you were injured by the door
    • your doctor breached their duty to provide competent medical treatment by amputating the wrong leg causing you extra pain, additional operations and loss of mobility
    • your lawyer breached their duty to give competent legal advice, by giving you wrong advice about a time limit so you lost your right to make a claim
    • your child care centre breached its duty to supervise your child causing injury to your child which could have been avoided if there was adequate supervision.

    How can I make a claim?

    If you've suffered an injury because of negligence you may be able to make a civil claim through the courts for compensation or damages. The law relating to negligence is extremely wide and is not limited to the examples above. If you want to know if you have a claim based on negligence you should get legal advice. It is important to do this promptly as strict time limits apply to claims.

    If you're seeking compensation for a personal injury, or making a professional negligence claim you may be eligible for help through the Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme (CLLAS)

    Do I need legal advice?

    You may need legal advice if you are considering making a claim for negligence for compensation or damages, or if someone is making a claim against you.

    Get legal advice

    We don't give legal advice on negligence, duty of care or loss (including personal injuries).

    If you have suffered a loss or injury or if someone is making a claim against you, you should speak to a private solicitor who practises in this area of law as soon as possible, as strict time limits apply.

    Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation. Some private solicitors may provide the first consultation free for negligence or personal injury matters.

    Who else can help?

    These organisations may also be able to assist with your matter. They do not provide legal advice.

    Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy provides a range of services to 'Forgotten Australians', including people who experienced institutional or out-of-home care in Australia.

    Nominal Defendant can help with compensation for people injured as a result of the negligent driving of unidentified and/or uninsured motor vehicles.

    Motor Accident Insurance Commission deals with compulsory third party (CTP) and personal injury claims.

    WorkSafe can help with general enquiries about injuries (physical and mental) arising due to work.

    Disclaimer: This content is for general purposes only and not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, please contact us or speak to a lawyer. View our full disclaimer.

    Last updated 25 May 2023