Who Is Liable For An Accident In A Public Place?

By Cat Mulligan. Last Updated 6th October 2023. If you suffered an injury in an accident in a public place, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm suffered. And if you can prove what happened, you could be entitled to make a liability accident claim against the responsible party. Our guide explains what proof is required and what a personal injury claim entails.

You could be injured whilst in a park, shop, restaurant or on the road, all of which are classed as ‘public places’, which is anywhere the general public can legally access. The organisation who could be held liable for any injuries you suffer would be determined by determining who had control over the space in question, property ownership, management, and whether it is a local council or private business/organisation.

Any public place that can be accessed by the general public must be safe for them to do so, and it is up to those in control to ensure this is the case. This is because they owe the general public a ‘duty of care’ to uphold their health and safety while on their premises.

Our guide to public liability claims takes you through the process of proving responsibility and explains what a claim of this type may be worth. We provide information on how a solicitor would assess your case before offering to work on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. We explain what signing a Conditional Fee Agreement with a solicitor means and what the many benefits of working with a No Win No Fee lawyer offers you.

If you would like to discuss a claim with one of our advisers, please get in touch today on 0800 408 7825. For more information on public liability and how to prove you were injured through no fault of your own, please continue reading our guide by clicking on the sections below.

Accident In A Public Place

Accident In A Public Place

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Can I Claim For An Accident In A Public Place?

If you’ve had an accident in a public place, you might be wondering who you could claim against. In order to make a claim, you must be able to prove that:

  •   You were owed a duty of care.
  •   This duty of care was breached.
  •   As a result, you suffered an injury.

When you make a public liability claim, it’s typically against the controller of the space. This is because they owe visitors a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act (1957) to ensure their reasonable safety. If they fail to do this, and you suffer an injury as a result, then you may be able to claim personal injury compensation.

However, it’s important to note that you must start your public injury claim within three years. This time limit is set out by the Limitation Act 1980, and extends to all personal injury claims. There are some exceptions to this rule; for example:

  •   The time limit does not begin until you turn eighteen. If you are injured while under the age of eighteen, a litigation friend can claim on your behalf, or you can claim for yourself when you turn eighteen.
  •   The time limit is suspended indefinitely for those who lack the capacity to claim for themselves. In this case, a litigation friend can make the claim on their behalf. If they were to regain this mental capacity, a claim has not been made for them already, the time limit will start from the date of recovery.

For more information on when you could make a claim, contact our team of advisors today.

How Can I Prove I Had An Accident In A Public Place?

If you have had an accident in a public place, you may be wondering whether you could claim compensation and how. To make a public place accident compensation claim, the first step is to ensure that you are within the time limit.

Generally, you will have three years to claim for a public place accident. This begins on the date of your injury and is outlined by the Limitation Act 1980. However, there are some exceptions to this. For example, if you are injured while under the age of eighteen, then the time limit freezes until your 18th birthday, at which point it reinstates and lasts until your 21st birthday.

Collecting evidence is another important step in the claims process. Evidence can help prove that someone else was liable for your accident and can also help prove the extent of your injuries and how they have affected your life. Some examples of evidence that you could collect include:

  • CCTV footage of your accident
  • Photographs of your injuries
  • Witness contact details
  • Medical reports

To find out how a solicitor from our panel could help you prepare your public place accident compensation claim, contact our team of advisors today.

How Much Compensation Could You Be Awarded In A Public Injury Claim?

Our guide includes a table indicating how much your public liability claim could be worth. The figures shown are based on the Judicial College Guidelines and are awarded to compensate you for physical pain and psychological suffering you endured because of your injuries. 

The amounts you can see below do not include special damages which are awarded to compensate claimants for their losses and out of pocket expenses.

 

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Injury Notes Guideline Compensation Amount
Moderate injuries to the neck Injuries which could result in disc lesions. May cause permanent damage, pain and discomfort £13,740 to £24,990
Moderate injuries to the back Damage to ligaments and muscles. May make an existing condition that much worse £11,730 to £26,050
Serious injuries to the shoulder Dislocation of the shoulder. A fractured humerus may be a consequence together with movement being negatively impacted £12,510 to £27,760
Fractured clavicle/collar bone Depending on the severity of the injury and how permanent the damage may be £5,150 to £12,240
Injuries to hip/pelvis Significant pelvic or hip injuries with no permanent disabilities £26,590 to £39,170
Less severe injuries to the arm May result in significant disability initially. Recovery may be possible £19,200 to £39,170
Very severe brain damage There is little to no meaningful response to the surrounding environment, and little to no language function. There is also a need for full time nursing care. £282,010 to £403,990
Kidney injuries (a) Serious and permanent damage to both kidneys, or loss of both kidneys £169,400 to
£210,400
Modest foot injuries This bracket includes simple fractures, puncture wounds, and ruptured ligaments. Up to £13,740

 

We appreciate you may want a more precise estimate. If so, we recommend getting in touch with our personal injury claims team. Once they know the facts surrounding your case they can provide more solid advice about what it could be worth. 

Examples Of Other Forms Of Compensation

Public liability claims can consist of  two parts namely general damages and special damages. The table above provides an idea of the general damages you could receive in a successful claim. 

Special damages are based on financial losses. You must provide proof of your losses and out of pocket expenses when claiming them back in an public liability claim.

You could claim the following out of pocket expenses and losses in your public liability claim:

  • Loss of income for the time you were off work
  • Loss of future earnings if you are not able to work again
  • Medical expenses which cover prescription costs and treatment costs not covered by the NHS
  • Travel expenses which covers the cost of getting to a place where you are being treated and back, whether you travel by bus, train, taxi, or car
  • Care costs should you require assistance around the home while you recover
  • Any other expenses and losses you can link to the injury you suffered in a public place

For a more accurate idea on how much an accident liability claim could be worth, please get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers today.

Who Could Be Liable For Your Accident In A Public Place?

If you suffer an injury in a public place and you were not at fault, you could be entitled to seek compensation. Even if you were partly responsible for the accident in a public place, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation. 

When it comes to determining who is liable for the injuries you suffered, this would need to be established before a case can go forward.

It could be that any of the following organisations may be liable for injuries you sustained in a public place:

  • Local Councils
  • Other local authorities
  • The Highways Agency
  • Supermarkets
  • Private owners of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other public places

For more information on who could be liable for injuries you suffered in a public place, please get in touch with a member of our team today.

How Are Responsibility And Liability Proven?

For a public liability claim to be valid, you would need to determine that an owner of the public place where you suffered an injury is legally responsible. You must also prove the injuries you suffered were as a result of the accident you had in a public place. Should you be partly responsible for the accident, you may still be able to claim compensation.

Because proving responsibility can be challenging, you must gather as much evidence as possible before contacting a solicitor who would then investigate which party could be held liable for your injuries.

To find out how Public Interest Lawyers can be of assistance in proving a public liability claim, please get in touch today.

What Types Of Accidents Are Not Public Liability Claims

There are various claims which cannot be classed as public liability claims which include the following:

  • Personal injury claims made against an employer which fall under employer’s liability 
  • Road traffic accidents, which relate to privately held and commercial insurance policies.

To find out whether your case falls under a public liability, please contact a member of the Public Interest Lawyer’s team today.

Types Of Accidents And Injuries

You could suffer several types of injuries if you have an accident in a public place. The most common accidents that people suffer on public ground include the following:

  • Slip, trip, and falls
  • Falling objects, like broken or damaged tree branches
  • Broken fence
  • A broken bench, picnic table, other outdoor equipment
  • Playground equipment
  • Outdoor gyms
  • Malfunctioning gym equipment
  • Broken pavement fixtures
  • Broken signs
  • Broken gate
  • Uneven pavement
  • Pothole falls

The sort of injuries you could suffer in an accident in a public place may include the following:

  • A broken bone
  • A fractured bone
  • Head injuries
  • Concussion
  • Torn ligament
  • Torn tendons
  • Twisted ankle

If you would like to discuss a public liability claim with a member of our team, please get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers today.

No Win No Fee Damages Claims For Accident In A Public Place

Public Interest Lawyers provide you with an initial consultation which is free of charge. You would not have to continue with a public liability claim should you not wish to. 

This first consultation allows us to assess whether you have a strong case against a party who could be held liable for the injuries you suffered. Once this is achieved, a personal injury lawyer from our panel would offer to act on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis.

This would involve agreeing to a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) with your solicitor and once done, they could begin their investigations without asking that you pay them an upfront fee to do so. 

You would not have to find the money to pay ongoing fees either. The only time you pay for the services of a No Win No Fee lawyer is when you receive public liability compensation. Should your case be unsuccessful, there would be nothing to pay because you signed a CFA with the solicitor who represented you.

To find out how Public Interest Lawyers can help you make a claim against a party who could be deemed liable for the injuries you suffered, please get in touch today.

Contact Us And Start A Claim

Thank you for reading our guide to accidents in a public place. If you’re looking to make a claim or would like more free legal advice, why not get in touch with our team using any of the following methods:

Learn More About Public Place Accident Claims

If you would like more information on Occupier’s liability, please click on the link below:

Occupier’s Liability Act 1957

For more information on how to sue a council, please click on the link provided below:

Make an insurance claim against a council

If you would like to know more about the benefits of having a solicitor represent you, please follow the link below:

How a personal injury lawyer can assist you

If you had an accident in a public place and damaged your knee, the following link takes you to a guide to claiming compensation:

Claiming compensation for a fractured knee

Have you been swimming and happened to have an accident in the swimming pool you may be entitled to claim compensation, find out more below:

When can you make a Swimming Pool Accident Claim?

Find out how to make a claim for an allergic reaction to latex with our helpful guide.