You are walking through a hiking trail, channelling your inner Bear Grylls, and enjoying the fresh air and natural scenery outdoors. All of a sudden, and without expectation, you slip (or trip) and fall and consequently injure yourself.
You may be wondering whether there is any basis for you to be entitled to some kind of compensation for those injuries you sustained. The short answer is “Yes” you may well have a personal injury claim, but this of course, depends entirely on the circumstances of the matter.
Who could potentially be liable if I get injured during a bushwalk or hike?
If you were walking with a bushwalking/hiking club when you injured yourself, you may be able to claim against the insurance company of that club. Organised clubs will often have insurance policies in place as a precaution due to the nature of the activities its members participate in. Generally, you have to be a full member of the club to be entitled to make a claim. However, depending on the club’s insurance policy, temporary members may be able to make a claim. Almost always, it will depend entirely on what the insurance policy says.
Another entity that could possibly be held liable may be the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The NPWS is the government body responsible for the management and maintenance of national parks and reserves throughout NSW. If you were walking through a recognised trail but there were inadequate signs or insufficiently maintained stairs or routes, and these factors caused you to slip and fall, then the NPWS could potentially be held liable in some circumstances.
What are some of the factors to be considered when deciding if I have a claim or not?
Factors that often have to be considered to determine whether you have a claim include:
- The severity of your injuries.
- Whether you have previously been on that trail before.
- Your bushwalking or hiking experience.
- If you were walking with a club or tour, whether the guide provided proper instructions or guidance.
- Whether the route or trail had clear warning signs or directions.
- The type of bush walk that you were doing, and specifically whether this was a “dangerous recreational activity” or whether your accident resulted from an “obvious risk”.
If I have a viable claim, what type of compensation could I possibly get?
Once it is determined that you have a viable claim and an entity or a club may have contributed to your injuries, you could be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Whether you had to take time off work to recuperate.
- Whether or not you can continue to work.
- Medical and treatment expenses.
- Whether you were provided with substantial care and assistance during recovery.
If you have been injured during a bushwalk or hike and would like more information on what you can do, please call us on 1800 25 1800 or make an online enquiry for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our friendly and knowledgeable lawyers will take down the full accident circumstances and advise you on whether you have a public liability claim.
Written by Erick Culala.
Erick Culala is a solicitor in Ivan Dzajkovski’s Practice Group. An amateur hiker with a keen interest in the outdoors, Erick has worked on a variety of compensation matters involving public liability claims, motor vehicle accident claims, and workers compensation claims.