Public Liability

How To Make A Public Liability Injury Claim

Although it is nice to think that nothing bad will ever happen to us, the truth is that public liability claims are a necessity for many people. In the following post, we will explain all you need to know about making a public liability claim. We cover everything from what constitutes a public liability claim to how you go about making one and finding the right person to represent you. If you believe you have been the victim of an accident in public, read on to discover how you can get the compensation you’re entitled to.

What Exactly Counts As Public Liability?

Public liability can be explained as the duty of care a business, organisation or individual is responsible or owes the general public to ensure a public area or space is safe for use. Companies are advised to take out public liability insurance to enable them to give compensation to members of the general public who are injured on their property or areas when they are at fault.

What Is a Public Liability Compensation Claim?

A public liability compensation claim, which could also be referred to as a personal injury claim, is making a claim again the owner of a public property if you have had an accident and suffered from an injury.  There are many organisations, public and governmental, that fall under this umbrella term when it comes to making a claim.

What Kinds Of Accidents And Injuries Qualifies For Public Liability Claims?

There is a wide variety of accidents and injuries that qualify a public liability claim, including:

  • Trips, slips and falls that have been caused by untreated surfaces in winter weather, poorly maintained pavements and footpaths and potholes. This can apply to areas such as car parks, schools shopping centres, supermarkets and damaged stairwells.
  • Objects causing injuries, either by falling from a height onto the public, or sharp objects that should have been moved or covered over to make them safe.
  • Obstructions on a footpath road or any other hazards that can cause trips.

Though the above list is not exhaustive, it gives you a good idea of the kind of accidents and injuries you should make a public liability claim against. therefore, if you have experienced any of the above or something similar, should contact a personal injury lawyer to start the claim process.

Can You Make A Claim?

If you have suffered injury or been involved in an small or large accident while in a public area or on public property and it wasn’t your fault you could be eligible for a public liability compensation claim. You may be eligible to make a claim against an employer if the accident occurred on public property during your time as an employee because they didn’t take due care to ensure your health and safety

What If The Property Or Public Area Owner Does Not Have Public Liability Insurance?

In the event that the owner of the property or the person or organisation responsible for the public area where you suffered from injuries or had an accident does not have public liability insurance, don’t worry. You are still eligible to make a claim for compensation.

Rather than the owner is responsible for paying compensation, you would make the public liability claim against the person or party who was at fault. This makes recovering damages harder if they don’t have enough money to pay you or they go bust. A personal injury lawyer will be able to help you out and discuss the risks of your claim not being successful.

What Do You Need To Do To Make A Claim?

In order to put forward a successful claim for public liability compensation, you need to prove with clear evidence that the injury was not your fault.

To make your claim stronger, you need to:

  • Report the incident immediately when it happens to either the owner or the member of staff responsible at the time.
  • Make sure your accident is recorded in an accident book.
  • Take contact details of any eyewitnesses of your accident.
  • Photograph the area the incident happened
  • If your accident involves uneven or damaged pavements, it is a good idea to use a coin (like a 50p or 10p piece) or ruler and stand it upright in or beside the lump or hole before you take photographs to show the height/depth better.

If you plan to claim expenses along with your public liability claim, including travelling expenses and the costs of prescriptions concerning treatments, you need to keep your receipts as the evidence.

If there are any video cameras or CCTV in the area, you could approach the owners and request a copy which shows the time of your incident. This is more than likely to be the strongest evidence you could obtain when it comes to making a public liability claim.

How Do You Start A Public Liability Claim?

There are strict time-frames in place for when you are allowed to make personal liability claims. Therefore, if you are looking to make a claim, you need to start the process within three years of when the accident occurred. However, if you are under the age of 18, and experience an accident that results in an injury, the time limit starts from the date of your birthday when you turn 18.

As personal injury and public liability law are complicated, it is not advisable to put forward a claim representing yourself. It is inevitable that the opposing side would use their legal representative’s knowledge to undermine any aspect of your case even if there is video evidence. Make sure you contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in public area accidents, and they will be able to help you out with making a successful claim which sees you receiving the compensation you are entitled to.

From our survey these are the best public liability lawyers in the UK

  • The UK’s biggest personal injury website LegalExpert.co.uk very helpful and free live chat.
  • The Accident Claims Company website AccidentClaims.co.uk providing in depth guides to council claims.
  • Beckett & Co Solicitors website BeckettAndCo.co.uk with advice on common supermarket accidents.
  • Advice UK. One of the UK’s biggest legal advice websites is Advice.co.uk vey helpful and provides personal injury advice.
  • Thorntons. The Thornotns-Law.co.uk website with a detailed guide to pothole accidents that have caused injury.

How To Make A Public Liability Claim Against The Council

Every council has a responsibility to ensure the spaces under their control are safe for public use, so far as reasonably possible. Legally, they have to follow strict and important health and safety rules and regulations, such as the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, to protect members of the public from accidents and injuries.

Therefore, if you have suffered an injury or have been involved in an accident while on a council-owned property, or while employed by the council, you may be entitled to compensation.

If this is the case, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer to see if you have a good case or not.

Local councils are responsible for providing various services and maintaining different spaces in your local area, such as:

  • Social care
  • Schools
  • Public areas and parks
  • Rubbish disposal and collection
  • Public transport
  • Libraries
  • Leisure and sports facilities

If you have had an accident or suffered an injury as a result of the council’s negligence, read on to find out what steps you could take next.

Common Accidents and Injuries Due To Council Negligence

In order to make a successful personal injury claim against the council, you must be able to prove that your injuries were sustained because the council breached the duty of care they owed to you.

Some of the common injuries that can result from this kind of negligence include:

  • Falls, trips and slips because public areas haven’t been properly maintained
  • Badly maintained equipment causing injuries in schools or council-owned city parks
  • Poorly maintained roads or potholes causing car accidents and cycling accidents
  • Injuries during employment with the council

Thorough evidence is necessary to make a successful claim. This evidence includes photographs of the area where the accident took place as well as the cause of the accident, statements from any witnesses, and any medical notes confirming your injuries.

Your lawyer may need to request CCTV footage, if there is any, from the area where the accident took place. Such evidence can prove crucial in establishing what exactly happened.

What Can You Claim?

As every personal injury claim is different, it is hard to say just how much compensation you would be awarded without knowing more about your case. However, compensation will take into account the following:

  • Suffering and pain from your injuries
    • This accounts for the physical and psychological damage sustained in the incident. It can range from a few cuts and scrapes to broken bones and paralysis. Generally, the more severe the injury, the greater the level of compensation will be awarded.
  • The impact in the long-run on the quality of life you have
    • This deals with the long-term impacts the incident has on your family and social life.
  • Psychological issues
    • When an accident occurs, the trauma may not be visible on the outside. Individuals may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and bouts of depression related to the incident.
  • Loss of earnings due to sick leave or leaving your job altogether
    • A broken arm or leg can see accident victims off work for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Their employer may not be able to give that much sick pay, leaving the individual unable to pay basic utilities or their rent or mortgage.
  • Any travel expenses
    • Trips to medical professionals, hospitals and other professionals related to your injuries can be included in the compensation award too, as well as any medication costs arising as a result of your injuries.

How To Make A Claim Against The Council If You Are An Employee

If you have been injured during your employment with the council, you could make a claim based on employer negligence.

To succeed, you will need to prove that your employer breached their duty of care and, as a result, you had an accident in which you suffered injuries.

It could be that the council did not provide you or colleagues with the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment or that they failed to give you sufficient health and safety training.

As with any claim, you will need evidence to prove employer negligence was responsible for your accident and injuries. This includes the likes of photographs of the area or hazard that caused the accident; witness statements from colleagues confirming you weren’t properly trained or supplied with PPE, or; proof that no warning signs or notices were used to alert you to hazards.

If you’re at all unsure what evidence to collect to support your case, get in touch with our knowledgeable team on the number at the top of this page. They’ll tell you all you need to know about obtaining evidence.

How To Proceed With Your Personal Liability Compensation Against The Council

It may be the case that you need the support of a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling compensation claims against the council.

As the law on both employer negligence and public liability is complicated, it is not advised that you take on the case yourself, though you can if you wish. However, a personal injury solicitor would be well-versed in the claims process. They will be able to handle the sometimes complex legal procedures, will have knowledge of what evidence to obtain and how to present it to the defendant. And ultimately they will ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

It is important that you don’t delay making a compensation claim against the council, as there are timeframes within which you have to make your claim. If you try to make a claim outside of this time-frame, you will not be eligible for compensation.

The time limit, or limitation period, is 3 years from the date of the accident. If the injured person is a child (under 18), a relative or appointed official can process the case on their behalf. If no claim is made, the child, once 18, can make a claim themselves. They will have until their 21st birthday to do so.

No Win No Fee Claims

Most personal injury lawyers work on a No Win No Fee basis. In fact, all of the lawyers on our expert panel work in this way. This means that if you are worried about the costs involved with making a claim, this type of agreement will ease your concerns.

Your lawyer won’t expect payment unless they win your case. And even when they do, they will only take a small, legally capped percentage of your compensation award.

If they do not succeed, you will not have to pay any of their fees at all. Plus, there are no upfront or ongoing costs to pay either.

To find out more about how to claim against the local council, or to kickstart your claim today, get in touch with our team. You can reach them by: