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When providing services to your clients or the public, your community organisation needs to consider its duty of care, and the standard of care it is required to meet.
A community organisation may be liable (legally responsible) for a breach of a duty of care, which results in damage (for example, injury, property damage or financial loss) to a person who the organisation owes a duty.
But a number of legal tests must be satisfied before your organisation will be held liable for negligence.
While negligence claims against community organisations are rare, your organisation should operate in a way that reduces the risk of injury or loss to your clients and the public. And you should consider getting appropriate insurance coverage to protect your organisation from liability in the event of any unforeseen incidents and unavoidable risks.
If you think your organisation has been negligent, you should seek legal advice about its potential liability.
Our fact sheet provides an overview of negligence, including:
- how a duty of care arises
- liability for acts or omissions
- risk management, and
- sources of negligence law
Accidents and incidents
Accidents and incidents are sometimes unavoidable (but sometimes they could have been avoided if a proper risk assessment had been done, discussed in our Risk Management and Insurance Guide).
It's important for your organisation to take appropriate steps when accidents and incidents occur. These steps can include:
- properly investigating and documenting the incident
- taking appropriate steps to minimise the chance of the incident happening again
- keeping a register of incidents, and considering reporting on accidents or incidents to the board
- responding to any complaints or allegations of liability or negligence appropriately (you may need to get legal advice)
- notifying insurers if necessary
- meeting any workplace health and safety requirements
- notifying any other people who are required to be notified (this may be in a contract), and
- implementing and reviewing policies and procedures around incidents and accidents
Our checklist below sets out steps to take when an accident or incident happens.
The content on this webpage was last updated in August 2022 and is not legal advice. See full disclaimer and copyright notice.