How To Make Claims Against Public Liability Insurance Guide? – Personal Injury Compensation Claims

By Max Morris. Last Updated 20th June 2022. Public liability insurance is used by companies to protect themselves against any claim against them such as personal injury claims or damage to property. This guide will explain whether claims against public liability insurance are possible in different scenarios.

Public liability is the duty of care which any business owner, landowner or occupier of a public place has to protect the safety of anyone using their land or property.  If they breach the duty of care, and that causes a victim to be injured, then they could make a compensation claim.

Claims Against Public Liability Insurance Guide

Claims Against Public Liability Insurance Guide

If you would like to discuss this with us, you can contact us here.

However, if you’d like to know more about what’s covered under public liability insurance then please carry on reading.

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A Guide To Claims Against Public Liability Insurance

Public liability claims, also known as a personal injury claim, are compensation requests made by anybody who’s injured by an accident which was caused by some type of negligence.

It could be a slip, trip or fall, falling objects, sharp objects, trip hazards, food poisoning or any other type of injury which could’ve been preventable had the business owner done something differently.

This guide is going to explain what public liability insurance is, what it covers and the types of public liability insurance.  It will also cover the amounts of compensation that can be awarded and what you can include in a claim.

Although making claims for accidents in public places can be pursued by individual claimants, this article recommends that you make use of a personal injury lawyer who offers a no win no fee agreement.  We’ll cover how no win no fee works in more detail later in this guide.

Some of the questions we’ll try to answer in this guide include:

  • How do I claim against someone’s public liability insurance?
  • What can I claim public liability for?
  • Does a business have to display a public liability insurance certificate?

What Is Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance is taken out by companies to cover any claims made by members of the public for:

  • Damage to, or loss of, personal property.
  • Personal injury claims.
  • Or Death.

The most important aspect of successful public liability claims is proving that your injury was a result of third-party negligence. You should also know that if an occupier does have public liability insurance, the claim procedure will be largely the same as if you were claiming against them directly.

The insurance covers companies for these claims where they’re related to their business activities.  It doesn’t cover any injuries to employees or contractors as there is a separate insurance called employers liability insurance to cover this.

Is It A Legal Requirement To Have Public Liability Insurance?

A question that often comes up “Is it illegal not to have public liability insurance?” and the simple answer is ‘No’.  Businesses don’t have to take out the insurance but without it, public accident claims or public injury claims could prove costly.

Businesses and organisations that have premises where members of the public visit such as shops, restaurants, pubs, doctor’s surgeries, schools and offices would probably have insurance to protect them against claims.  Other businesses that might take out public liability insurance are those that put on events which members of the public attend.

Another question that arises is “What happens when you don’t have public liability insurance?”.  The answer here is that a personal injury claim could still be possible, but the company would have to fund the compensation themselves, rather than a payment being made by an insurance company.  Don’t be put off from claiming if you don’t believe the business has insurance, a personal injury lawyer could still help you to claim?

What Are Public Liability Claims?

Claims against public liability insurance are usually made when the company who is insured causes an accident through some type of negligence.  If the victim is injured because of the accident, then they could be eligible to make a compensation claim.

Potential examples of a public liability claim include:

  • Slipping on the floor where no warning signs were present
  • Falling down the stairs due to a faulty handrail
  • Tripping over exposed wiring

When using a personal injury solicitor, during their initial consultation for accidents in public places, they’ll try to assess if:

  • The defendant (the business owner or operator) owed the claimant a duty of care;
  • If they breached that duty in any way; and
  • Was it the breach of duty which caused the claimant to become injured?

If all of the above statements are true, and the lawyer believes the chances of gaining compensation are high, then they might decide to take the case on using a no win no fee agreement.

Claims are possible for any type of injury but must be made within strict personal injury claims time limits.  In the UK, the current time limit is 3 years from the date of the accident.  In cases where children are injured, the claim is possible while they’re under 18 or 3 years from their 18th birthday.

Accidents which were caused in part by the claimant might still be possible.  Split liability claims mean that compensation is still calculated but only a percentage of the award is made, depending on what split is agreed (i.e. a 50/50 claim or 75/25 claim).

Any accident caused in whole by the injured party, wouldn’t be eligible for any form of compensation and personal injury lawyers wouldn’t take the case on.

Compensation Payouts For Public Liability Claims In 2022

It can be difficult to provide an estimate for public liability claims as every claim is different. One of the potential heads of claim is general damages. This compensation figure assesses factors like the seriousness of the injury and how badly it has impacted your everyday life. The Judicial College Guidelines can give you a greater impression of what you could receive for this.

The Judicial College has analysed successful personal injury claim amounts from England and Wales. By doing this, they’ve created brackets of compensation like the ones you see below. The latest guidelines, published in 2022, have provided these figures. However, please remember, as every claim is unique, these figures are not guaranteed.

InjurySeverityCompensation Bracket
Leg injuryMinor to severeUp to £135,920
Arm injurySevere Arm Injuries£96,160 to £130,930
Foot injuryMinor to very severeUp to £109,650
Hand injurySerious Injuries£29,000 to £61,910
Elbow InjurySeverely Disabling£39,170 to £54,830
Ankle injurySevere£31,310 to £50,060
Shoulder injurySevere£19,200 to £48,030
Wrist injuryInjury Resulting In Significant Permanent Disability£24,500 to £39,170
Finger injurySevere Fracture to FingersUp to £36,740
Thumb injuryVery Serious Injury to Thumb£19,600 to £35,010

If you would like some insurance claim advice or want to see if you can claim compensation, please contact us for free using the above details.

What Costs You Could Be Compensated For?

When making claims against public liability insurance, there are many elements that can be considered.  These include:

General Damages:  This part of a claim covers the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused to the claimant by their injuries.

Care Costs:  It’s sometimes possible to claim back the cost of any professional care which is required because of the claimant’s injuries.

Medical Costs: Although we receive free treatment from the NHS for our injuries, the cost of prescriptions, over the counter medicines and other treatments can soon add up.  These costs can be claimed back as part of a claim in some cases.

Travel Costs:  Following an accident there may be many trips required to a doctor, physio or for medical assessments.  Costs for fuel or making alternative travel arrangements might be able to be included in a claim.

Damaged Property:  You might be able to claim the cost replacing any item of personal property that was damaged in an accident.

Lost income:  A large part of claims against public liability insurance might be for lost income.  In some cases, if you lose any salary because you need to visit a doctor in work time, you could claim the loss back.  If your injuries are long-term and you require a long time off of work to recover, you could claim for future lost income too.

Any claim would need to be proven to be linked to your accident.  You should try to provide evidence such as receipts or bank statements and explain why you needed to claim for the expenses.  If you’re unsure, speak with a personal injury lawyer prior to committing to expensive items.

Potential Public Liability Claim Examples

Businesses and organisations don’t need to have public liability insurance. Ultimately, whether they have it or not isn’t your concern when attempting to claim. The most important consideration when claiming is whether your injury was a result of third-party negligence.

We will now provide several examples of hypothetical scenarios caused by negligence to give you a better idea of whether you can make a public liability claim. Potential claims could involve:

  • Damaged or malfunctioning equipment: Damaged equipment could cause serious injuries. For example, you could suffer a hand injury if gym equipment in a public gym was faulty.
  • Objects falling from a height: If an object falls onto you, it can cause serious damage. For instance, you may be able to make a public liability claim if an unsecured or faulty light fitting fell on you in a public place.
  • Slips, trips and falls: A potential fall could be caused by a faulty railing, leading to multiple injuries. We will go into more about these types of injuries below.

This is far from an exhaustive list. To learn more about your eligibility to claim, please contact us for free legal advice. We can tell you if you’re able to claim and even connect you with a solicitor from our panel.

Slips, Trips, And Falls

A slip, trip or fall can happen in just about any part of everyday life.  Not all accidents linked to them are automatically eligible for compensation but cases where a claim might be possible include:

  • Potholes, damaged pavements or damaged kerb stones. Local authorities have responsibilities to inspect and repair any defects identified regularly.  Any defect in a path that causes an accident to happened may lead to a claim depending on its size and the amount of time since the defect occurred.
  • Obstructions placed on pathways. This could include advertising boards, trailing cables or deliveries. The claim might then be made against the business owners public liability insurance instead of the local authority.
  • Icy or slippery paths. In wintry conditions, if ice hasn’t been cleared and somebody slips and injures themselves, there be a chance of claiming compensation.
  • Tree roots protruding through the pavement. If roads are assessed regularly, this type of problem should be picked up and action taken. If the road hasn’t been checked for a long time, roots protruding through the pavement could be quite height and lead to a personal injury claims against public liability insurance.

These, and other accidents, could happen in just about any public place from supermarket car parks to high streets and could lead to a successful claim.

Am I Eligible To Make A Public Liability Claim?

As discussed earlier, there are times when claims against public liability insurance are, and are not, possible.

For a claim to be considered, you’d need to prove that:

  • You were entitled to be where the accident happened, and that the business therefore owed you a duty of care;
  • It was the business, or its staff that caused an accident through negligence (and not you);
  • And that the accident caused you to become injured.

It’s not always clear cut as to whether you’ll be eligible but generally, if an accident is caused by negligence and you were owed a duty of care, a claim might be possible.  If you’re unsure, speak to a personal injury lawyer and explain the situation.  Most offer free legal advice, even if you don’t go on to use their services.

Could I Claim Compensation If The Owner Does Not Have Public Liability Insurance?

As mentioned earlier, businesses are not legally obliged to take out public liability insurance.  That means, a business who causes you to become injured potentially won’t be covered.

That doesn’t mean you can’t make a claim against them though.  You could still be able to claim against them and any compensation would be recovered from the business itself, rather than their insurance policy.

The business would have to find the money to pay any compensation from their own funds.

What Do I Need To Do If Injured In An Accident In A Public Place?

If you’re injured in a public place, there are some steps you might want to consider taking at the time.  These might help improve your chances of successfully claiming compensation or might speed up the claim.  The steps you could take include:

  • Photograph the scene of the accident. When doing so, try to capture the cause of the accident before it is repaired, removed or cleaned up.  These photographs can be as evidence in your claim.
  • Visit a doctor or hospital. Ensure you receive immediate treatment for your injuries.  This means your injuries will recover sooner.  It will also mean medical records will be available for your lawyer to prove that the injuries occurred and how serious they were.
  • Ask any witnesses to prepare a brief statement explaining what they saw happen in your accident. Remember that they might need to be contacted at a later date so get their contact details too.
  • Photograph any noticeable injuries yourself. These can be used in conjunction with your medical records to support your claim.
  • If in a public place, report the accident to staff. They should record the accident in a report book.
  • Obtain copies of CCTV if the area was covered by it. This might be trickier to obtain, and you’ll need to act quickly because it won’t be retained for long.  A lawyer might be able to help with this.

As mentioned earlier, there are time limits when making personal injury claims.  Therefore, you should try to collate as much of the evidence above as soon as possible and get it to your personal injury lawyer.  This will give them enough time to prepare your claim.

No Win No Fee Injury Claims Against Public Liability Insurance

If you’ve ever heard or seen an advert for personal injury claims, you’ve probably heard of no win no fee services, but do you know how they work?

In 2013, the law on injury claims changed.  Previously, if you won a claim, your solicitor would be paid by the defendant.  Now though, that’s not possible which means your solicitor claims a success fee from your compensation.  This still means that using no win no fee is much less risky than paying a solicitor up front.  This comparison shows why:

  • No Win No Fee
    Your lawyer will prepare a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA, or no win no fee agreement). In the CFA it will show that, should your solicitor lose the case, they won’t be paid for their services.If they win though, they’ll retain a success fee from your compensation.  This is a fee that pays for their service.  It is limited to 25% of your compensation and compensation amounts were increased (by around 10%) to help with this fee.
  • Paying A Solicitor Up Front
    If no win no fee wasn’t available, you’d need to pay a solicitor up front for their service.  They’d either charge a fixed fee or an hourly rate to take on your claim.If this type of solicitor wins your case, you receive 100% of the compensation, which may sound nice.  But, if they lose the case, you won’t be able to recover any of the money you’ve already paid them for their service.

No win no fee, in our opinion, still allows many people to claim (who might not be able to afford to otherwise).  It is much less risky, and less stressful, than running the risk of having a large legal bill to pay but no compensation to help cover the costs.

How To Start Your Claim Against Public Liability Insurance For An Injury

If, having read this article about making claims against public liability insurance, you’re going to begin your own claim, there are a number of things to do:

  • Gather as much of the evidence that we explained earlier.
  • Make a note of what you remember happening. Writing it down will give you clarity and allow you to explain it more easily.
  • Work out how much the accident has cost you financially and collate receipts.
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer.

When you contact a lawyer, they usually offer you a free consultation.  You’re not obliged to continue at this point so make use of their free legal advice and assess whether they’re the right company for you.

You should be comfortable with the advisor and, if they put any pressure on you, politely move on and try another company.  Read reviews to see how happy other clients have been recently.

In the consultation, they’ll ask questions about how the accident happened and what caused it.  If they believe you have strong chance of claiming compensation, they’ll offer you a no win no fee agreement.   When you sign the agreement, the claim will begin.

If you need any further advice on this, you can contact us here.

Remember, you have a 3 year time limit to make your claim within.  Therefore, contact a lawyer in plenty of time to allow them to prepare your case properly.


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