Slip, Trip Or Fall Compensation Claim Against Public Liability Insurance Guide – How To Claim?

Public Liability Insurance Compensation Claim

Public Liability Insurance Compensation Claim

By Stephen Hicks. Last Updated 23rd March 2022. A public slip, trip or fall can happen just about anywhere and lead to some very serious injuries. In cases where the accident was caused by negligence, a slip, trip or fall compensation claim against public liability insurance might be possible.

This guide aims to explain everything you need to know about fall, slip and trip claims. If you’d like to ask any questions, you can contact Public Interest Lawyers and ask questions to one of our advisors. You can reach us online using our contact form or the website’s live chat service. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our advisors on the phone by calling 0800 408 7825.

If you’d like to know more about making a public liability claim, please carry on reading this helpful guide.

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A Guide To Slip Of Fall Claims Against Public Liability Insurance

A slip, trip or fall can occur almost anywhere in everyday life. That doesn’t automatically mean any injuries can lead to a compensation claim. This guide will explain when and when you can’t begin a personal injury claim.

We’re going to try and answer some of the following questions:

  • Can I claim compensation for a fall?
  • How do I make a slip and fall claim?
  • Can I sue for slipping in a store?
  • Is it possible for someone to sue me if they get hurt on my property?
  • Can I claim for falling in the street?

As well as answering these questions we’ll cover slip and fall compensation amounts and what you should do following an accident.

Accidents in public places, which are caused by negligence and lead to injuries, will usually be claimed against public liability insurance held by the business operator or local authority responsible for the land where the accident happened. In some cases though, insurance might not be held, so we’ll explain what to do in these situations as well.

What Are Slips And Falls?

This type of accident is where something causes somebody to slip, trip or fall. It doesn’t cover accidents where the victim ‘trips over fresh air’ or trips over their own feet.

Generally, a trip hazard will cause this type of accident. We’ll cover common causes later an example might be a spillage in a supermarket which hasn’t been cleaned up, causing a customer slip and become injured.

What Is Public Liability Insurance?

Companies pay for public liability insurance to protect them against claims by members of the public or customers. The types of public accident claims that the insurance covers include:

The insurance is used to cover accidents that occur on business premises or where business activities happen off-site but where members of the public or customers are present.

The cost of some of these claims can be very expensive and have a big impact on a business.  So, while it’s not a legal requirement to have public liability insurance, many businesses do take it out.

Slip And Fall Public Insurance Compensation Claim Calculator

If you’ve been injured in a public place, you might wonder if you can use a personal injury claims calculator to work out how much compensation you might be entitled to. Compensation awards for slip, trip and fall accident claims can vary a lot. That’s because there are several variable factors which need to be weighed up when a case is brought forward. For instance, the injuries you claim for and how severe they are deemed to be makes a big difference to potential compensation amounts. If you have grounds to start a personal injury claim, you can contact Public Interest Lawyers for advice. Our advisors may be able to offer some guidance into the potential amount of compensation you may be offered based on the specific circumstances of your case.

What Can My Compensation Claim Include?

Public injury claims can be made up of numerous parts, depending on how the accident impacted on the claimant. Legally known as ‘Heads of Loss’, the different elements of a claim that can be used include:

General Damages: Most claims will include a general damages element. It is used to compensate the claimant for their pain and suffering.

Medical Costs: We might receive free NHS treatment and aftercare when injured but the cost of prescription medicines can build up quickly. A claim could include the cost of prescriptions, non-NHS treatment and over the counter medicines.

Care Costs: Some injuries leave the claimant unable to look after themselves while recovering. In these cases, the cost of professional medical care might be included in a claim.

Travel Costs: Following an accident, you might need to make alternative travel arrangements. For instance, if your injuries mean you can’t drive, you might need to pay for somebody to transport you to and from work. These costs could be considered for the compensation claim.

Lost Income: Another part of a public liability insurance claim can be for any income you’ve lost because of your injuries. If your employer doesn’t pay full sick pay, and you need time off to recover, you might end up out of pocket. In these cases, loss of income may be sought as part of your claim.

Damage to Personal Property: At the point your accident occurred, if any item of your property was damaged, you could ask for the cost of repair or replacing the item. Examples can include ripped clothing, smashed mobile phones or damaged jewellery.

We recommend that for any large financial expense, you should speak with a lawyer first for advice about whether the cost can be claimed back. This is especially important when considering private health or care services which can be quite expensive.

Who Could Be Responsible For Your Accident?

Before working out exactly who is liable for a claim, it’s worth looking at the questions a personal injury lawyer will try to prove when assessing a claim. They seem quite simple but can sometimes be tricky to prove. The questions are:

  • Was the claimant owed a duty of care by the defendant?
  • Did the defendant, or their staff, breach the duty in any way?
  • And was the breach the reason the accident led to the injuries sustained?

If you think you can answer yes to these questions, then you could contact a lawyer to discuss starting a claim.

When making public injury claims, it can be quite difficult to work out who to bring the claim against. Claims for accidents in public places might be made against:

  • Councils or local authorities.
  • Those responsible for public paths.
  • Building owners.
  • Building occupiers.

The term of building occupier can play an important role when making a claim. For instance, in the case of a shop, the building owner might be deemed the occupier but the shop owner (or the tenant in legal terms) could be too. It can all come down to how much control of the building the tenant has. The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 governs this type of claim.

This type of scenario is a good example of where a personal injury specialist can help. They have the experience and understanding of the law to ensure your claim is made against the correct legal entity.

Common Causes Of Slips Trips And Falls

When looking at making a slip, trip or fall compensation claim against public liability insurance, there are a number of causes which occur over and over again. The most common causes of slips and falls include:

  • Trailing cables: These present an obvious trip hazard. Cables should either be trailed overhead, or warning signs and tape used to highlight the risk.
  • Inadequate lighting: Even when an area isn’t in complete darkness, trip hazards can be obscured if the lighting is damaged or not working.
  • Damaged pavements: On public highways, pavement trips can lead to compensation claims. Examples include where paving slabs are raised, kerb stones are missing, or tree roots have broken the surface of the path.
  • Slippery floors: This could be inside our out. Outside could be caused by untreated icy in wintry conditions. Indoors, a claim for slipping on wet floor might occur because of a spillage, a leak or cleaning that wasn’t fenced off by warning signs.
  • Items blocking walkways: Accident claims might be made if a path was blocked by advertising or a delivery.
  • Damaged handrails: Claims for falling down stairs are sometimes possible when hand rails are damaged, loose or missing, causing the victim to slip and fall. 

This is a sample of some of the more common causes of slips and trips. A claim can be made for any other type of accident as well, so long as injuries were sustained in an accident caused by negligence.

Public Liability Claims For Slips Or Falls In The Workplace

Although employers do owe their staff a duty of care, claims for injuries wouldn’t be made under public liability insurance. A separate form of cover, known as employers’ liability insurance, would be used in this case.

If you are a member of the public injured on business premises though, you could begin a claim your injuries were caused by a negligent act.

Public Liability Slip And Fall Claims Against Local Authorities

Local authorities, such as district, city and county councils can be responsible for public highways. These include roads, paths, footpaths, walkways and pavements open to members of the public.

Under the Highways Act 1980, they are legally obliged to inspect and maintain the highways at regular intervals. Therefore, any accident that causes injury, where the council haven’t met their duties, could lead to a claim against their public liability insurance.

The Party Liable For My Accident Does Not Have Public Liability Insurance, Could I Still Claim?

As mentioned earlier, there is no legal obligation for businesses to take out public liability insurance. You may be surprised by that but that’s the current law. That’s not to say that a claim couldn’t be made though.

Any business who’s chosen not to take out insurance, could still be claimed against if they were liable for a claimant’s injuries. It just means that any compensation awarded would have to come out of their own funds, rather than an insurance payment.

Don’t be put off from claiming if you believe there is no insurance in place. Just because the business has decided to risk not having insurance, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be compensated for your injuries. A personal injury specialist will still know how to make the claim on your behalf.

How Long Do I Have To Make A Public Liability Slip Or Trip Claim?

When you begin a slip, trip or fall compensation claim against public liability insurance, you might want to know how long the process will take. In short, it’s very difficult to know until both parties have discussed the claim.

With very simple cases, where liability is agreed quickly, the whole process can be tied up in a short period of time. In more complex cases, where the defendant denies liability, argues how the accident happens or contests how serious the injuries were, cases can take much longer.

Personal injury solicitors can, in some cases, secure interim payments where the defendant has admitted liability for the accident, but the settlement has been settled yet.

You should also be aware that there are personal injury claims time limits in the UK. You must submit a claim within 3 years of the date the accident happened. Realistically though, you’ll want to begin sooner so that your personal injury solicitor has enough time to gather evidence to support your claim.

In the case of accidents involving children, their 3-year time limit begins from their 18th birthday. Alternatively, a responsible adult, such as a parent, could make a claim on their behalf prior to them becoming 18.

No Win No Fee Slip Trip Or Fall Compensation Claims Against Public Liability Insurance

You’ve no doubt seen TV adverts or heard radio adverts about No Win No Fee services. Have you ever considered how they work though? What are the benefits of using No Win No Fee instead of paying a solicitor directly? The comparison below should help you understand the process better:

  1. No Win No Fee claims
    A No Win No Fee agreement is actually called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). It is a legal contract between the client and solicitor which states that, if the solicitor loses the case, the client doesn’t have to pay them.It also includes details of a success fee should the case be won. This is a fee that is taken from your compensation payment, to cover the solicitor’s fees.  It is limited by law to 25% of your compensation and could be less.In the past, your solicitor would’ve been paid by the defendant if you won the case, but the law changed in 2013 and this is no longer possible (a small nominal payment is made but isn’t enough to cover the solicitor’s costs).
  2. Pay a solicitor directly
    When you hire a solicitor that doesn’t offer No Win No Fee, you’ll either be advised of their hourly rate or a fixed fee for dealing with your case. You’ll need to pay this up front. If the solicitor wins the case, you’ll be awarded 100% of any compensation as you’ve already paid the solicitor for their service. If they lose the case however, you won’t get any of the fees you’ve already paid refunded.

Advantages of No Win No Fee Claims

We believe that, even though the personal injury lawyers are paid out of your compensation when you use No Win No Fee, they still offer a number of advantages compared with paying the solicitor directly. These include:

  • The claim is much less stressful, as you’re not worried about how much the claim is going to cost.
  • You won’t lose anything if the solicitor doesn’t win compensation.
  • You don’t have to find any funds to pay the solicitor. There’s never anything to pay up front with CFA’s and, if you win, the money is simply retained by the solicitor before they send the rest to you.

How To Start Your Accident Claim

If you’re ready to begin a public liability insurance claim of your own, here are some steps we’d advise you take:

  • If you attended a doctor’s surgery or hospital following your accident, contact them and ask for any medical records. These can be used to prove that you were injured, what treatment you had and the severity of the injuries.
  • Ask any witnesses to provide you with written statements about what they saw. Ask for their contact details too.  They may need to be contacted by your lawyer at a later date.
  • Collate any photographs you took of your visible injuries. These can be used in conjunction with medical records and by medical experts to help determine how seriously you were injured.
  • Print any photographs you took of the scene of the accident. Any photo which shows the root cause of the accident can be really helpful.
  • If the accident was fairly recent, and there was CCTV in the area, contact the owner and ask for copies. You may need a lawyer to help with this request.
  • Write down everything you remember happening, including dates, times, locations etc.
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer and explain what happened.

All of these steps could really help to make your claim easier. Making claims with less evidence is possible but the more you can gather, the greater your chance of winning the case will be.

Something we haven’t mentioned so far is the initial free consultation. This is where you can ask the lawyers as many questions about your claim as you like. They’ll ask you questions too. They’ll want to know when an where the accident happened, what occurred and what injuries you sustained.

Once they’ve finished asking questions, they’ll assess your claim. If they believe you have good chance of winning compensation, they’ll offer you a No Win No Fee agreement.

Until you sign the agreement, you’re under no obligation to proceed. Use the consultation to decide if the company are right for you. Ask about similar cases they’ve taken on recently and what compensation was awarded. Once you’re happy, sign the agreement and the case will begin to be processed. If you still have any questions about starting an accident claim, feel free to contact our advisors. You can reach us online using the live chat service or the contact us page. You can also call us on 0800 408 7825.

References

We hope you’ve found this guide about making a slip, trip or fall compensation claim against public liability insurance useful. For further guidance, we’ve linked to some more useful guides below:

Slip and Trip Claims Against Councils – a guide similar to this one but more targeted at council claims.

Public Liability Claims Against Shops – information on what to do if you’re injured in a shop and want to pursue a claim.

Cycling Accident Claims – information on making compensation claims for cycling related accidents.

Broken Arm Injuries – an NHS guide about the symptoms and treatment of broken arms (we’ve included compensation amount for broken arms earlier in this guide).

Reporting a Pothole – This website, by the UK government, details who is responsible for any road in the UK so that you can report a pothole.

Other Personal Injury Claim Guides