Accidents In A Public Park

By Lewis Houston. Last Updated 10th August 2023. Although you may not realise it, one of the most common sources of personal injury claims for public place accidents in the UK is those that occur in public parks. They come in all shapes and sizes, with various features such as pathways, lakes and animals which can all contribute to unwanted accidents. For the most part, an afternoon walk or picnic is a pleasurable activity, but when unforeseen events shadow the day it’s good to know that you can claim compensation for your injury.

If you have been involved in an accident at a public park, therefore, and it was due to negligence either because of poor maintenance of the park or unsafe equipment, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. Read on for our guide of what to do if you’re involved in an incident in a public park, and how you can make a claim which will be successful.

Who Is Responsible For Public Park Accidents?

Local councils are usually the organisations who build and maintain public parks. While it is true that they are not responsible for supervising members of the public using a park, they do have a legal responsibility to ensuring it can be used by everyone and is sufficiently maintained.

Children are not expected to be nearly as aware of risks as adults are, and this fact should be identified in the way the park has been designed and looked after. This includes:

  • Correctly installing high quality and safe equipment and other facilities
  • Regularly conducting risk assessments
  • Regularly conducting maintenance checks
  • Ensuring the park is kept clean and tidy
  • Ensuring that animals on the grounds are cared for
  • Making sure road and walkway surfaces are accessible

When accidents happen involving children in a park, is almost always because the council have not fulfilled their duty in one way or another.  The duty of care local councils have falls under what is known as ‘tort’ or ‘common law’.  Essentially this means, if a child or even adult suffers an injury due to faulty equipment or a hazard that has not been properly marked and cordoned off in a park, the local council could be liable to pay compensation.

Understanding Park Accidents A Little More

Around 40,000 children end up in hospital on a yearly basis, as a result of accidents occurring in playgrounds (and public parks too).  A surprisingly high 40% of those are related to issues with park and playground equipment.  These statistics were reported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

The most common claims for compensation from personal injuries suffered in a public park include:

  • Equipment not being installed correctly
  • Equipment being unsuitable for the age range
  • Incorrect layout or design – the wrong material for surfacing for instance
  • Failure on the local council’s part to comply with regulations
  • Badly designed equipment
  • Insufficient maintenance checks

How Do You Make A Compensation Claim and Prove Liability?

When you or one of your children are involved in an accident at a public park that was not your fault, first and foremost you should seek appropriate medical attention as soon as possible.  This could involve a visit to the hospital and even an overnight or longer stay there.  Next, you need to inform the particular council that has responsibility for the park where the accident occurred.

You should make a note of the location, time and date of the accident.  Any evidence that you can gather from the accident’s location, including contact details for eyewitnesses and photographs of injuries and the equipment or surface or conditions that caused the accident.  If possible and available, footage recorded on CCTV may also be recalled if possible. We have a guide which goes into the frequently asked questions regarding public liability claims which you can check out here.

After you have reported to the council about the accident, the council will normally investigate it and write up a report.  This will be useful when it comes to making your compensation claim.  Don’t worry though, if because of the stress and upheaval after the accident occurred, you didn’t contact the council regarding the accident.  You will still be able to make a personal injury claim.

How Much Compensation Could You Claim?

If you are eligible to make a personal injury claim against a council, you may be awarded general and special damages as part of your compensation settlement.

General damages are awarded to all successful claimants and compensate you for the physical and mental suffering you have endured due to your injuries.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), is a document many legal professionals will use to help them when valuing this head of claim. This is because the JCG provides a list of guideline compensation amounts for different injuries at various severities.

We have included some of the amounts stated in the 16th edition of this document in the table below.

Please only refer to it as a guide.

Injury Notes Compensation Range
Severe Neck Injuries (i) Little to no movement in the neck despite having worn a collar 23 hours a day for a number of years. In the region of
Severe Back Injuries (i) Injury is caused to the spinal cord and nerve roots resulting in significant consequences. £91,090 to £160,980
Severe Shoulder Injuries Damage is caused to the brachial plexus causing severe disability. £19,200 to £48,030
Wrist Injuries Function in the wrist is completely lost. £47,620 to £59,860
Serious Hand Injuries Hand capacity is reduced to around 50 per cent. £29,000 to £61,910
Serious Leg Injuries It is almost inevitable that arthritis will ensure due to injuries. £39,200 to £54,830
Severe Knee Injuries (i) Serious disruption of the joint causes considerable pain. £69,730 to £96,210
Very Severe Ankle Injuries Extensive soft-tissue damage results in the ankle becoming deformed. £50,060 to £69,700
Severe Foot Injuries Mobility is restricted due to fractures of both heels. £41,970 to £70,030
Serious Toe Injuries Two or more toes are crushed or fractured. £9,600 to £13,740
Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder A full recovery is made within two years with only minor symptoms persisting afterwards. £3,950 to £8,180

Special damages may also be awarded if you make a successful personal injury claim. This aims to compensate you for the financial losses you have experienced that have been directly caused by your injuries. You will need to provide evidence of these losses in order to claim them back, such as your bank statements and invoices.

Some examples of the losses you could claim back under special damages include:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Necessary travel expenses.
  • Loss of earnings.

For more information regarding council compensation payouts in the UK, speak to our advisors for free at any time.

Learn More About Making A Compensation Claim

Below, we’ve included links to some of our other guides that we think you may find useful:

We also have some other guides you may find useful: