As a result of the busy lives we lead, we spend a lot of time rushing around public places each and every day. We should be able to go from one place to the next, without suffering from an injury. Public organisations such as your local council and businesses have a legal duty to make sure that all public places are safe and there is a minimal risk of injuries. Public liability covers all public areas, including restaurants, swimming pools, parks, footpaths, shops, supermarkets and schools.
There are many hot spots where public accidents more commonly happen and where most compensation claims are made. These hot spots include public areas such as:
- Steps, roads and pavements
- Pedestrian areas
- Shops, shopping centres and supermarkets
- Pubs, bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants
- Public gardens and parks
- Sports clubs and leisure centres
- Rented and private properties
- Underneath scaffolding
In these areas, the most common public places accidents are generally caused by members of the public slipping up or tripping up or sustaining injuries as a result of objects falling on them.
If you are involved in any of the public places mentioned above, as the laws are complicated, you need professional help to make your claim. It is also worth highlighting that the laws are different depending on the organisation or business that owns and controls the area. These can be put into two distinct categories – local authorities and building owners/tenants.
According to the Highways Act of 1980, it is local councils that have a legal duty to maintain and inspect public pavements and roads. Therefore, the liability for compensation rests with them if you are involved in an accident and suffer injuries because of any of the following:
- Missing or broken paving and slabs
- Faulty or broken lamp posts
- Insufficient lighting (when walking in the evening, night or just days when there is poor visibility)
- Icy pavements, which have not been sufficiently salted or gritted.
When it comes to shops, shopping malls and supermarkets etc. it is the responsibility of the owner or tenant of these properties who have a legal responsibility to ensure the correct and appropriate safety steps have been taken. When you make a claim for compensation in the situation, it is called occupiers’ liability claims.
The thing all public place accidents share in common is the fact that they normally result from the failure of a public organisation, property owner or business to fulfil their legal responsibility to ensure their premises are as safe as possible for the members of the public using them or navigating past or through them.
If you have been involved in a public area accident and have sustained any kind of injury, you need to ask an important question ‘Who is responsible for the maintenance of the area where you sustained your injuries?’. In order for a public liability compensation claim to be successful, you need to successfully prove the owner or occupier was negligent using evidence.
What Should You Do If You Suffer Injuries From An Accident In A Public Area?
Above all else, it is important that you seek the help of a professional and qualified personal injury lawyer, but there are also things you should do immediately after an injury occurred, if possible, including:
- Take as many photographs as you can of the area where accident occurred. If the accident involves pavements that are poorly maintained it can also be helpful to measure the size of the cracks or gaps.
- It is also crucial that you report the incident to the owner, occupier or a member of staff, and make sure they take a note of it in their accident/incident book.
- Take details, such as the names, addresses and contact telephone numbers of any witnesses who saw the accident happen and are willing to help out when trying to get compensation.
- Get the necessary medical help.
- If you are looking to claim back expenses with your claim, including travel and prescription costs, keep all receipts for evidence.
- Note the name and address of the place where the incident occurred.
How Can Compensation Help You?
While it is often the case that many people make a full recovery from injuries they sustained from an accident fairly quickly, you may be left out of pocket or have long-term disabilities. The Compensation you are awarded will be based on a number of factors, such as:
- How serious your injuries are
- How much you have lost financially as a result of the accident and the injuries sustained
- Any support you may need in life to get by comfortably
How Do You Make A Public Liability Compensation Claim?
Now that we have covered what some of the most common accidents and places where accidents occur to members of the public and why it is important to make your claim for compensation, we will highlight how you should proceed with making a claim.
If you have been involved in an accident that occurred in a public space, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced personal injury law firm or individual. You should look for a solicitor with experience with compensation claims for injuries caused by public space accidents. They will go over just how the accident occurred and will be able to tell you who was at fault and who is liable to pay you compensation if anyone is at all.
As there are varying time limits on public compensation claims, you normally have to make your claim within three years of the date the negligence was acknowledged or the date the accident occurred. So, don’t delay and get in touch with a personal lawyer as soon as you can.
Most personal liability lawyers offer their services on a no win, no fee basis; so you only have to pay for their assistance and expertise if they are successful. Although there is no guarantee that your claim will be successful, if you don’t try, you definitely won’t be compensated.