In this guide, we look at how personal injury claims in Scotland work. Did you trip on a raised pavement slab and suffer an injury? Perhaps you slipped and tripped on a wet floor that was left unattended in a supermarket. Accidents in a public place can lead to serious injury. Therefore, in this article, we examine what you can do to start a claim if you were injured in Scotland.
In Scotland, there is generally a three-year time limit under the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 for starting a personal injury claim. This can begin from the date of the accident or the time you became aware that it caused your injuries (date of knowledge).
If you have sufficient evidence that negligent practices in a public place led to you being injured, you could be owed compensation by the people in charge. Our advisors are on hand right now to help clarify the basis of your claim. You can:
- Call us direct on 0800 408 7825
- Contact us via our website
- Or use the ‘live support’ option to the bottom of this screen
Select A Section
- What Are Accidents In A Public Place?
- Where Could An Accident In A Public Place Happen?
- When Could You Claim For An Accident In A Public Place?
- What Accident Could Happen In Public Places?
- How Do You Show The Other Party Is Liable?
- Calculating Damages For Accidents In A Public Place
- Contact A No Win No Fee Public Accident Claim Lawyer
- Related Injury Claims
An accident in a public place can take many forms. Given the variety of venues and locations, it can be possible to suffer all manner of injuries. Typical examples include:
- Trips on faulty floor surfaces or unmarked changes in floor height
- Slips on wet floors
- Unsafe stairs or handrails
- Poorly lit areas
- Burns from extremes of temperature (taps or cooking areas)
- Low ceilings and unavoidable structural issues not alerted to
- Weather extremes such as ice on a pathway that should be gritted
- Exposed sharp surfaces
- Poorly stored items that can fall
- Unclear security procedures or overcrowding
- Hygiene and food poisoning or safety standards
- Exposure to chemicals or processes that injure you
Wherever the public place, if awareness of health or safety procedure is missing or impaired, you could be put at unnecessary risk. Those in control of the public place have a duty to pre-empt this risk before it causes injury to you.
Public places can be controlled by parties such as local authorities, individuals or private companies. This includes:
- Shops and retail environments
- Schools, universities and colleges
- Libraries and municipal buildings
- Public transport
- Parks and recreational areas
- Common land and beaches
- Roads and pavements
- Car parks
- Gyms, swimming pools and saunas
- Nurseries and playgrounds
Responsibility for a public place is outlined in the Occupiers’ Liability (Scotland) Act 1960. In this Act, anyone who is in control or occupying somewhere that’s accessible to the public assumes a duty of care around safety. They should aim to ensure that visitors are will be safe when using the premises, which can involve making them aware of risks or hazards.
Occupiers may not be liable if they provide full and clear warnings about unavoidable risks and the visitor proceeds regardless, injuring themselves. A disclaimer against harm or damage is commonly seen in many public areas to this effect.
If you were injured by an accident that was caused by the negligence of an occupier or someone who was in control of a place, get in touch with our advisors to discuss claims for accidents in a public place.
Prior to late 2015, all claims were dealt with through either the Edinburgh-based Court of Session or the 49 Sheriff Courts in towns and cities across Scotland. Personal injury claims that had a value under £5,000 were raised in the Sheriff Court and significant level claims were raised in the Court of Session. However, there is now a court in which personal injury claims may be brought.
It’s important to note that central to a personal injury claim is evidence. It’s not sufficient to slip or trip over in a public place and automatically try to blame the shopkeeper or venue management. You must be able to demonstrate that:
- The occupier/controller of the premises owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty of care, causing an incident or accident
- You were injured as a result
Accidents in a public place that could give rise to a legitimate claim for damages may arise when there is a clear example of negligence on the part of the party in control of the place.
If you’re unsure as to whether you have a valid claim, why not reach out to our advisors? They’re available 24/7 and give free legal advice.
Falling or tripping in a public place can be humiliating as well as painful. It’s possible to suffer both mental and physical injury, both of which could be taken into account when valuing your claim.
Depending on the severity of the accident, it can be possible to experience:
- Cuts and bruises
- Soft tissue wounds and blood loss
- Chemical burns
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head injuries, concussion and head trauma
- Back or spinal injuries
- Dog bites and tetanus
- Trauma and shock, psychiatric harm
- Food poisoning
Anyone of the legal age of majority (16 in Scotland) or over can still pursue public liability compensation if they have a valid claim. An eligible adult could claim on their behalf as a litigation friend.
However, once they reach the age of 16, and if no one has claimed on their behalf already, they could make a personal injury claim themselves. They’d have 3 years to start a claim.
It’s important that you can back your claim up with proof. With this in mind, you could collect the following to be sued for proof:
- Witness contact details for statements at a later date
- CCTV footage of the accident
- Photographic evidence/mobile phone footage
- Accident and emergency reports or medical records if available
You could claim for an accident in a public place if you have evidence that the duty of care outlined in the Occupiers’ Liability (Scotland) Act 1960 was breached and you were injured as a result. If you have any doubts, call our advisors who can assess the validity of your claim in a short telephone conversation.
Fundamental to a personal injury compensation claim is independent medical proof about your injuries. After an accident in a public place, a personal injury solicitor (if you choose to use the services of one) can arrange your appointment with an independent medical professional. They would assess your injuries and put their findings in a report. The purpose of this report is twofold:
- To establish whether your injuries are consistent with those caused or worsened by an accident in a public place.
- To assess the severity of your injuries.
Your solicitor could use the report to help value your injuries too.
Compensation for your injuries (whether mental or physical) is known as general damages. In the table below, we illustrate potential awards for injuries as listed in the Judicial College Guidelines, a publication used for claims in England and Wales. These figures are not guarantees, but they aim to give you an idea of what you could claim.
|Very Severe Brain Damage
|£264,650 to £379,100
|Less Severe Brain Damage
|£14,380 to £40,410
|Psychiatric Damage Generally
|£17,900 to £51,460
|Psychiatric Damage Generally
|£1,440 to £5,500
|Injuries Affecting Sight
|Minor Eye Injuries
|£3,710 to £8,200
|£42,680 to £52,540
|£12,900 to £23,460
|£11,730 to £26,050
|£11,980 to £18,020
|£7,410 to £11,980
Any award you receive could differ. Compensation is not a certainty at all, but working with a personal injury lawyer could help you when claiming.
Why not contact our advisors for a free estimate of what you could claim for accidents in a public place?
Special Damages For An Accident In A Public Place
In addition to these amounts, you could claim for the financial losses you’ve suffered due to the accident. In the aftermath of a personal injury, a whole array of additional and unforeseen expenses can present themselves.
With the correct documentation to prove these losses (bills, receipts and bank statements, for example) it can be possible to be reimbursed for:
- Missed income due to time off spent recovering
- Lost deposits for future plans
- The need for childcare arrangements as you recover
- Damage to personal property (clothing, eyewear, mobile phone)
- Scar and cosmetic surgery costs if not covered by the NHS
- Travel expenses (to and from hospital appointments, for example)
- Modifications at home (wheelchair access where necessary, for example)
- Domestic help at home for cooking, cleaning and personal care if you need it
These costs can affect your life. Furthermore, they can stretch into the future for many weeks, months or even years to come. With this in mind, it’s important that you include predicted costs the injuries will cause you as part of your claim.
This figure must be based on demonstrable need and a solicitor can offer expert advice on how to assess this accurately. Speak to our advisors for more information.
When making a personal injury accident in a public place claim, you can represent yourself: it is not a legal requirement to use the services of a solicitor. Please bear in mind, however, that cases such as this can be complex and jargon-heavy. We believe that lawyer and solicitors can offer you the support and advice you need to claim for the maximum amount of compensation appropriate for your case.
Choosing to work with a personal injury solicitor under a No Win No Fee agreement (the formal term is ‘speculative fee agreements’ in Scotland) can have numerous benefits.
Under a No Win No Fee agreement there are:
- No upfront solicitor fees
- If the claim fails, there are no solicitor fees due at all
- If your claim wins, you would pay a ‘success fee’ to your solicitor. However, this is capped by law.
In conclusion, you can start a claim in minutes by getting in touch. It’s free, there’s no obligation to proceed and it’s in strictest confidence. Don’t suffer in silence from injuries that should not have happened. Find out how much your claim could really be worth by:
- Calling us on 0800 408 7825
- Contacting us through our website
- Using the ‘live support’ option at the bottom of this screen for immediate help
In addition to the information about accidents in a public place in Scotland, we can offer further reading on what to do after an accident in public in England or Wales.
Perhaps you suffered an avoidable accident and injury in the workplace? Read our guide.
As well as this, there is helpful information on road traffic accident claims.
The Scottish government offers reading on types of nursing care available.
NHS Highland gives advice about avoiding falls.
Thank you for reading our guide to claims after accidents in a public place.
Article by EA