Could You File A Personal Injury Lawsuit Following A Shark Attack?

Law Blog

Shark attacks are relatively rare in Australia, which is good news because these incidents often result in terrible injuries. If you survive a shark attack, you could face a life-changing injury, so you may want to know if it's possible to file a personal injury lawsuit. Learn how personal injury liability law applies in Australia, and find out why this wouldn't necessarily apply following a shark attack.

The basics of personal injury liability

In Australia, to make a claim for negligence following a personal injury, you would need to prove three important things. You would have to show that,

  • A person or organisation owed you a duty of care and breached that duty.
  • You suffered an injury, loss or other damage.
  • The person or organisation's breach of duty resulted in your injury.

To successfully claim negligence, you need to show that all three of these conditions applied.

Personal injury liability and natural shark attacks

Australia's national parks and coastlines are beautiful and exciting, but these areas also present several natural risks. For example, riptides along the beaches can present a serious drowning hazard. What's more, many of the country's native animal species can cause serious injuries.

When it comes to a shark attack, you may struggle to prove negligence. You wouldn't have a problem proving your injury, as shark attacks often result in distinctive, sloped injuries that the fish's teeth cause. However, you would probably struggle to find a person or organisation that owed you and breached a duty of care.

Large stretches of Australia's coastlines fall under the protection of state marine parks, but it is generally difficult to prove that the authority was negligent following an attack. Realistically, it isn't possible to protect swimmers and divers from shark attacks, and while authorities may take measures such as installing drum lines to protect beaches, a court is unlikely to accept that any attack occurred as a result of negligence.

In some states, legislative changes are underway to further reinforce this. For example, the Queensland state government intends to lock down legislation to prevent claims against the State for injuries incurred in a national park.


In some marine parks, trained and licensed operators will run activities such as shark cage diving. These experiences are exciting and dangerous. What's more, and perhaps crucially, the operators have a duty of care to make sure you stay safe during the experience. Similarly, boat trip operators must make sure passengers are safe.

As such, in these cases, a shark attack injury could reasonably result in a personal injury lawsuit. In any case, if you are unsure about your rights, you should always contact an experienced personal injury attorneys Maryborough or other areas may offer for more advice.


1 August 2016

Unknown laws you might not know

I love all of those quirky laws that are still on the law book. It's a little hobby of mine to track down some of those laws and try and work out if there was a story behind how they got on the books. I've been doing it for 14 years and have accumulated a lot of material that I have researched. I thought it would be fun to start a blog with some of these stories to share with other people who like to know a little more about law and about history. I hope you enjoy my site.