Accident In A Public Car Park Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation For A Personal Injury In A Public Car Park?

Public Car Park Accident Claims

Public Car Park Accident Claims

By Max Morris. Last Updated 12th May 2022. It probably won’t surprise you to know that an accident in a public car park is quite a common occurrence.  With so many cars crammed into enclosed spaces a crash in a car park may seem inevitable.  There are several different scenarios that can lead to accidents, not just car crashes, which this article will cover in more detail.

Accidents could happen in a supermarket car park, a multi-storey car park, a hospital car park or just about any other type of car park which is open to the public.  Injuries could be inflicted on drivers, pedestrians and even car park staff.  Any of these people could be eligible to make a personal injury claim if the accident was caused by negligence and led to an injury.

If have any queries, why not contact us today.  For more information, please carry on reading this guide about how to make a car park accident claim.

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A Guide To Claims For Accidents In A Public Car Park

When an accident in a public car park occurs, which was caused by the negligence of somebody else, you might be able to claim compensation if you’re injured in the accident.

This article aims to explain what you should do following a car park accident, how to assess who’s liable and the types of car park accident that can happen.  It will also show you the amounts of compensation you could be entitled to as well as using a no win no fee personal injury solicitor to make a claim.

We’ll cover these types of accident in more detail but in brief you may be able to claim for:

  • Parking accidents (cars reversing out and hitting another vehicle).
  • Being hit by a car park barrier.
  • Pedestrians being hit by vehicles in a car park.
  • Slipping or falling in a car park.
  • Injuries caused by defective equipment in a car park.

This list isn’t exhaustive, there are many more scenarios where you could claim for compensation if you’ve been injured.  We’ll cover as many as we can later on in this guide.

What Qualifies As An Accident In A Public Car Park Which You Could Claim For

To be eligible to make a claim, accidents in a public place, such as a car park, need to meet the following criteria:

  • The defendant, or person you blame, owed you a duty of care.
  • They breached that duty of care.
  • And because of that breach, you were injured in an accident.

When you use a car park which is open to the public, the owner owes you a duty of care under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.  This means they should take steps to ensure your safety while on site.

They can do things like maintain all equipment properly to ensure its safe to use, repair damage such as potholes and ensure the floor doesn’t become slippery (in icy conditions for instance).

Other drivers also owe other drivers and pedestrians a duty of care.  This means they should pay attention at all times and drive appropriately (within speed limits etc).

Therefore, if you’ve had an accident in a car park, the chances are you were owed a duty of care.  You, or your personal injury lawyer, would then need to prove that the duty was breached and that you sustained injuries because of that breach.

Proving negligence and liability for an injury can be tricky.  We offer advice on how to do so in this guide but it’s probably good advice to speak with a personal injury claims specialist as they have the expertise in making claims that could save a lot of time.

It’s important to note that public injury claims, under UK laws, have a time limits associated with them.  This means, you must submit your claim on time or forfeit the right to make a claim.

The personal injury claims time limit is currently 3 years from the date of an accident.  For children under 18, their parents could claim while they’re under 18, or they have 3 years from the date of their 18th birthday.

Personal Injury Claim Calculator For An Accident In A Public Car Park

When you suffer an accident in public car park, you may want to work out how much compensation your injuries might be worth. Figures provided by the Judicial College Guidelines can be found below. They can give you a better idea of what you could receive. These figures have been taken from the latest edition, which is the sixteenth, published in April 2022.

Injury SeverityMaximum CompensationNotes
Back injuryMinor -> severeUp to £160,980Injuries included in this category start with sprains and strains through injuries which restrict movement and are painful until healed (long term)
Neck injuryMinor -> severeUp to £148,330From basic whiplash type injuries through to much more serious injuries which result in loss of movement and permanent pain
Leg injuryMinor -> severeUp to £135,920Injuries included in this category start with soft tissue damage through to injuries which result in some form of permanent disability.
Arm injuryModerate -> severeUp to £130,930Injuries included in this category start with injuries that do heal fully but are painful and on to injuries to the arm that are classed as the severest injuries
Foot injuryMinor -> very severeUp to £109,650Injuries included in this category start with soft tissue damage and then on to complete loss of the foot.
Ankle injuryMinor -> severeUp to £69,700Injuries included in this category start with sprains, strains and bruising through to permanent loss of function.
Hand injuryMinor -> seriousUp to £61,910Injuries included in this category start with soft tissue damage and go on to serious injuries which cause long term loss of use
Wrist injuryMinor -> severeUp to £59,860Injuries included in this category start with sprains, strains and soft tissue damage then up to injuries which cause permanent loss of the wrist function
Toe injuryModerate -> severeUp to £56,080Injuries included in this category start with basic soft tissue damage injuries and through to complete amputation of all toes.
Thumb injuryMinor -> severeUp to £54,830Injuries included in this category start with brusing to the thumb and simple soft tissue damage through to complete amputation of the thumb.
Finger injuryMinor -> severeUp to £36,740Injuries included in this category start with bruising and soft tissue damage and onto more severe injuries causing the amputation of one or more fingers.

This shows how much compensation can be paid for public accident claims (and other claims) for different types of injury.  The list doesn’t cover every possible injury but provides a broad range of injuries.  When you speak with a personal injury lawyer, they can provide you with a more accurate estimate, once they’ve assessed your claim.

What Else Could You Claim After An Accident In A Public Car Park

When a lawyer assesses the impact of a public accident, they have several ‘Heads of Loss’ available to them.  These are different reasons for claiming compensation.   Some example heads of loss include:

General Damages
An amount of compensation that is awarded to cover the pain and suffering caused by an accident.

Medical Costs
This covers any treatment, prescription or over the counter medicines.  Although the NHS treatment is free, private care may be required at times (physio for instance).

Travel Costs

The cost of making trips to and from medical appointments, physio, solicitors etc could all be included in a claim.  You might also be able to claim for any costs associated with making alternative travel arrangements while you recover from your injuries.

Care Costs

This loss covers any financial cost associated with professional care linked to the accident.

Loss of Income

If the claimant loses income, because they take time off work, they may be reimbursed as part of their claim.   In cases where work will be affected in the long term, your lawyer could claim for future lost income too.  This is determined by your current age, salary and your job prospects.

Damaged Property Costs
A lawyer can look to recover the cost of repairing or replacing any item damaged at the time of an accident.

Not all these elements are guaranteed to be paid as part of a compensation claim.  It’s therefore important to speak with a lawyer before committing to any expense.  They will be able to offer advice as to whether you are likely to get the cost back within your claim.

The financial aspects of a claim are known as special damages.  These are not a fine or a penalty on the defendant.  They are simply meant to return you, financially, to the position you were in before you were injured.

Different Parties Who Could Be At Fault For Your Accident In A Car Park

When you begin claims for accidents in public places, such as car parks, you need to ascertain who was liable.  A car park accident could be the fault of:

  • Another driver
  • Car park operators
  • Pedestrians
  • Passengers 

Determining who is at fault for a car accident in a public parking lot can be tricky.  It is advisable to explain the situation to a personal injury lawyer and let them work out who to claim against.  There are different types of claim, depending on which regulations are used, so its best to leave this to the experts.

Accidents Caused By Another Driver

In the same way that road traffic accidents are dealt with, if another driver causes an accident, through some form of negligence, and you are injured, you could claim against them or their insurance policy.

Even though driving conditions can be tight in car parks, if another driver fails to see you while reversing and collides with your car, or hits you as a pedestrian, you might be able to claim for any injuries you sustain.

If another driver collides with you while driving above the speed limit in the car park, you may be able to claim.  It will be tricky to prove but CCTV or witness statements might help with this type of claim.

Accidents Caused By Facilities At The Public Car Park

Public Car Park Injury Claims Guide

Public Car Park Injury Claims Guide

As mentioned earlier, a car park operator has a duty of care to all users. They will have public liability insurance in place which could be claimed against in the event of an accident caused by poor maintenance, slippery conditions or faulty equipment.

Examples of where the operator of a car park could be liable include:

  • If a barrier at the entrance or exit is faulty and strikes you or your vehicle.
  • When, in wintery conditions, the car park hasn’t had any ice cleared making it slippery and causing you to fall.
  • If bollards, pillars or barriers are in a poor state of repair causing you to be cut or injured.

In a later section of this article, we’ll cover what you should following an accident and what you can do to help prove the car park operator acted negligently.

Public Car Park Accidents Injuring Pedestrians

Even though pedestrians don’t have to have insurance like drivers do, they still have a duty of care to ensure they don’t cause an accident.  If they walk out in front of a car, causing an accident in which the driver and passengers are injured, it might be possible to claim against the pedestrian.

Reversing Accidents – Who’s At Fault in the UK?

It can be difficult to know who is at fault if you’ve hit another car while reversing. This section will provide you with a better understanding of whether you would be able to claim compensation for such an incident. 

Rules 200 to 203 of The Highway Code clarify the important principles related to reversing. They are:

  • That an appropriate place should be chosen when attempting the manoeuvre. For example, you should not be attempting to reverse into a busy road due to the high risk of a potential collision. 
  • To not reverse from a side road to a main road. 
  • To look carefully before you begin reversing. As such, you should use all of the car’s mirrors, check no pedestrians are present and check the blind spot behind you. 
  • That, when reversing, you should be constantly checking your surroundings, looking mainly through the rear window. 
  • That you mustn’t reverse your vehicle further than required. 

If you and your car have been damaged in a car park, you may be able to claim compensation if another driver reversed into you and didn’t adhere to the rules in the Highway Code. This is because, when performing the manoeuvre, the driver reversing needs to be aware of their surroundings and adjust accordingly. Therefore, in most cases, if the person reversing caused the collision, they would usually be considered liable for the injuries caused. 

However, please bear in mind that The Highway Code only relates to road user conduct in Great Britain, not the UK. This means that there will be separate guidance clarifying a road user’s duty of care in Northern Ireland. 

Car Passenger Injuries

Passengers inside a car are just as susceptible to injuries as a driver is.  In a collision, a passenger can suffer from:

  • Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries.
  • Head injuries including concussion.
  • Back injuries.
  • Broken or fractured bones.
  • Muscle or ligament damage.

If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, a pedestrian or the car park operator, the passenger could make a claim in the same way that the driver could.

Injuries Caused By A Hit And Run In A Car Park

This guide has covered what to do following an accident in a car park but what if the other driver who causes an accident, doesn’t identify themselves, thus committing a hit and run offence?

In the same way that the driver responsible for a road traffic accident has to stop and provide their details to the other driver, the same is true in a car park.   Failure to report an accident in car park does not mean that you can’t make a claim though.

The insurance industry in the UK has a scheme which can pay compensation for those injured by uninsured drivers or hit and run drivers.  The Motors Insurers Bureau (MIB) can be contacted, with the details of what happened in the accident and they could compensate any injured parties.

You’ll need to report the accident to the police and provide the reference number to the MIB.  You should also contact your own insurer, as it’s probably in their terms that you report all accidents to them.  They might help trace the other driver too.

What Should You Do If Injured In A Public Car Park?

If you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident in a public car park, we recommend that you take the following actions.  Public injury claims are much easier when you have some of the evidence that these steps will provide you with.

Steps to Take

  1. Visit a doctor or a hospital in more serious cases. This will ensure your injuries are assessed and treated properly.  It will also mean there are medical records that a personal injury lawyer can use as a basis for your claim.
  2. Photograph the scene of the accident. Doing so, before any vehicles are moved, will provide an insight of what happened.
  3. Get the other driver’s (or pedestrian’s) details. Try to get their number plate, name, telephone number, insurance company and policy number if possible.
  4. Photograph any visible injuries which can be used to demonstrate the severity of the injury and substantiate the medical records.
  5. Ask any witnesses to write a statement of what they saw happen. Also ask for their contact details in case they need to be contacted in future.
  6. Report the accident to the car park operator. They should log the accident in a report book.  This could be obtained as further evidence that the accident took place.
  7. Make a note of what happened as you remember it. Include dates, times, locations and who was present.  It’s very easy to forget this information once you’ve left the scene of the accident.
  8. If there is CCTV in the area, or dashcam footage, try to obtain copies.  If you can’t get copies, because of data protection, speak with a lawyer who may be able to act on your behalf.

While these steps won’t guarantee a successful compensation claim, they will make a claim easier.  Presenting this evidence to a lawyer at the beginning of a claim can speed things up dramatically so it’s worth spending a bit of time after the accident taking these steps.

Establishing The Car Parks Negligence

When claiming for an accident in a public car park, whether it be a supermarket car park, a council operated car park or a pay and display car park, proving negligence caused the accident and your injuries is key to making a claim.

As established earlier, the car park almost always owes users a duty of care, so the key thing to do is prove negligence.  But how do you do so?

Well, using a number of the steps in the previous section can really help.  This means you should photograph anything you believe caused the accident.  So, if you slipped on ice, try to capture the fact it is icy, and no salt has been laid.  Or if a barrier has struck your car, get a photograph while the barrier is still on top of the car.

Witness statements are a useful tool to proving negligence too.  Especially if the witnesses are independent, i.e. not known to you.   The more witnesses who confirm what happened, the better.

Other important evidence that can prove negligence is CCTV or dashcams which are becoming more and more popular.  It is the type of evidence that can really prove that a fault or negligence caused your accident to occur.  You should approach the car park operator to ask for copies of the CCTV but, if they won’t provide it (or can’t), speak with a lawyer.

No Win No Fee Claims For An Accident In A Public Car Park

The rules surrounding no win no fee claims changed in 2013.  Previously, if you won your claim, you’d receive 100% of the compensation awarded.  The defendant would have to pay for your lawyer’s fees as well.

That’s no longer possible under new rules.   Instead, when you sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA, also known as the no win no fee agreement), you’re agreeing to pay your lawyer a ‘Success Fee’ if they win the case.  You don’t have to send them a payment as it is retained from any compensation awarded to you.

Success fees are limited to 25% of your compensation and might be less.  As an example, if you were awarded £5,000 compensation for your car park accident claim, it would be paid to your solicitor who would retain £1,250 and send you £3,750 (assuming a success fee of 25%).

The success fee is used to pay for the services of your lawyer.  But the good thing about no win no fee is that, if the case is lost, the lawyer doesn’t have to be paid.

So, although it’s not as nice as receiving 100% of the compensation, no win no fee does remove the risk of paying a large legal bill but receiving no compensation if the case is lost.  No win no fee, in our opinion, is still a benefit and removes the financial risks involved with making a claim.

How To Start Your Public Car Park Accident Claim

If you decide, having read this article, that you want to claim compensation following an accident in a public car park then we advise that you use the services of a no win no fee personal injury lawyer.

Claims can become complex and it’s almost certain that a car park operator or an insurer for any other defendant will use their own lawyer to either reduce the compensation amount, or to try and disprove liability to avoid paying any compensation.

If you want further information, you can contact us online of if you want to speak with an injury specialist, here are some that you could use:

References

Hopefully, this guide about claiming for an accident in a public car park has been useful for you. For further information, here are some other relevant and interesting guide articles which you might find useful:

Claiming for Accidents in Parks – a guide about accidents claims in public injury claims in parks.

Pothole Injuries – Useful information about claiming compensation for injuries caused by potholes.

Public Liability Claims – Details on how to claim against a business’s public liability insurance policy for accidents that they cause.

Everything You Need To Know About Road Traffic Accident Compensation Claims – A general guide to road traffic accident claims.

How Long After A Road Traffic Accident Do You Have To Claim? – Time limits for RTA claims explained.

How To Successfully Claim Car Accident Compensation – A guide on the steps to follow to improve your chances of claiming car accident compensation.

My Child Got Hit By A Car, Can I Claim Compensation? – Road traffic accident claims involving children explained.

Making A Claim After A Road Traffic Accident – More information on the requirements for RTA claims.

Hit And Run Compensation Claims – A guide focusing on hit and run compensation claims.

Whiplash Injuries – Information from the NHS about the whiplash which can occur following a car accident in a public car park.

Motor Insurers Bureau – The insurance industry backed service that can provide compensation when a hit and run incident happens, or if a driver is uninsured.

Car Accident Lawyer Claims Guide – How You Could Claim Compensation? – This guide will explain when you could receive compensation and the benefits of using a car accident lawyer.

Car accidents on public property – Find out how to claim.