Public Liability Claims

If you’ve experienced an injury while in a public space, you might be interested in knowing more about public liability claims. In this guide, we explore the process of making a public liability claim. In addition, we look at what public liability actually means and what the legislation says. 

Public liability claims guide

Public liability claims guide

We explore what duty of care occupiers of public spaces owe to anyone using their space for the purpose intended. We will also look at examples of injuries that could occur should owners and occupiers ignore this duty of care. 

To claim compensation, you will require evidence. There are steps you could take following an injury that could help strengthen your claim. Examples of these steps are provided in this guide. 

If you decide to claim compensation, your claim could have two different heads. We discuss both of these with examples of compensation payouts. In addition, we provide some examples of what you could claim under the special damages head. 

Personal injury solicitors could help make the claims process less stressful. We look at how No Win No Fee arrangements can help if you decide to use a solicitor to claim. 

If you would like to start your claim now, contact our advisors:

  • Make a claim online
  • Call us on the number at the top of the screen
  • Use the live chat feature in the lower right-hand corner. 

Choose A Section

  1. An Introduction To Public Liability Claims
  2. What Does Public Liability Mean?
  3. Examples Of Accidents On Public Property
  4. How Much Could I Get For Public Liability Claims?
  5. How Do I Find No Win No Fee Solicitors?
  6. More Resources On Public Liability Claims

An Introduction To Public Liability Claims

The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 (OLA) helps govern safety in public spaces by outlining the steps those in control of public spaces owe towards those who use the space for the intended purpose. 

If you would like to claim compensation, you will need to supply evidence that your injuries were caused by owner or controller negligence. A solicitor could guide you through what you could submit to support your claim. However, we do provide examples further on in this guide. 

It’s important to note that you cannot claim just for being injured in an accident in a public place. It must have been caused by a breach of duty. Furthermore, you cannot claim just because an accident happened; you need to have sustained an injury as a direct result.

Contact our advisors to begin the claims process if you’ve experienced an injury due to owner or controller negligence.  

Public Liability Statistics

The Compensation Recovery Unit is a part of the Department for Work and Pensions that aims to recover social security benefits in cases where compensation has been awarded. They release yearly statistics based on the work that they do. The year runs from 1st April to 31st March. 

They recorded the following number of public liability settlements by year:

  • 62,911 for 2021-2022
  • 71,195 for 2020-2021
  • 83,511 for 2019-2020
  • 84,513 for 2018-2019
  • 91,706 for 2017-2018

What Does Public Liability Mean?

A duty of care towards users of public spaces is owed by the party in control of the space under the OLA. This means that the owner or occupier must take reasonable steps to ensure risks are reduced if the space is being used as intended.

There’s no standard definition of the occupier in this legislation. However, it should be someone who can both reasonably be expected to spot a hazard, and who has the power to remove it.

The public needs to be alerted if there’s a risk present that cannot be reduced. This could include a sign stating ‘mind the step’ if there is a steep drop, for example. Also, owners and occupiers should also be aware that children are less mindful of their personal safety and surroundings than adults. 

What’s public liability insurance? 

Owners or occupiers might take out public liability insurance, although this is not a legal requirement. It covers costs and expenses related to public liability claims. So if you had an injury caused by owner or occupier negligence in the park, for example, the owner’s public liability insurance would pay your compensation if they had a policy in place. 

Contact our advisors to discuss potential public liability claims if you were injured as a result of owner or occupier negligence. 

Examples Of Accidents On Public Property

Injuries could occur in many public spaces in many different ways. If an occupier has no public liability insurance, they may be responsible for paying damages plus any court costs. 

Public liability claims could arise from: 

  • Debris or clutter on a walkway could cause an accident in a public place, for example. You could experience a slip, trip and fall resulting in a wrist injury
  • A local council might be responsible for uneven paving stones on a public footpath. If someone trips and then injures their knees and wrists in a fall, the council might be found negligent if they didn’t fix this within a reasonable timeframe. 
  • You could experience an accident at a supermarket. This could be due to the top shelf not being stocked in a safe manner, resulting in an object that falls from a height. A head injury could result from a tin falling, for example. 

Strengthen Your Claim

Supporting evidence of occupier negligence is required for public liability claims. You could help strengthen your claim with the actions you take following an injury.

You could:

  • Seek medical attention. Medical records could be submitted as evidence. 
  • Note witness contact details. They could provide a statement at a later date if there are any witnesses. 
  • Request CCTV footage. You are within your rights to request CCTV footage of yourself from the relevant party. 
  • Seek legal advice. Public liability claims could feel easier with a personal injury lawyer. 

Free public liability claims advice is available from our advisors 24 hours per day, seven days per week.  

How Much Could I Get For Public Liability Claims?

Your public liability claim settlement has two potential heads. These are general damages and special damages. We discuss each in further detail below. 

General Damages

The pain and suffering caused by your physical injuries, along with any connected psychological distress, can be claimed for under the general damages head of your settlement. An independent medical assessment might be required. This is for a more accurate view of the extent of your injuries, and a report will be created off the back of this assessment. 

Solicitors refer to a document called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help assign value to your injuries. It lists injuries alongside their potential compensation brackets. We’ve included a few examples in the table below. 

InjuryPotential CompensationNotes
Severe back injuries (ii)£74,160 to £88,430Injuries with special features such as nerve damage that results in impaired sexual, bladder and bowel functioning.
Very serious leg injuries£54,830 to £87,890Permanent problems from leg injuries, including fractures taking years to heal.
Moderate brain injury (iii)£43,060 to £90,720Impacts on concentration and memory with a small epilepsy risk.
Traumatic injury to digestive system (i)£43,010 to £61,910Continuing pain from severe damage.
Wrist injuries (b)£24,500 to £39,170Some useful movement but significant permanent disability.
Moderately severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)£23,150 to £59,860Significant disability from PTSD symptoms for the foreseeable future but chance of some recovery with professional help.
Less severe facial scarring£17,960 to £48,420Substantial disfigurement with a significant psychological reaction.
Modest ankle injuriesUp to £13,740Less serious, minor or undisplaced fractures, sprains and ligamentous injuries.
Moderate shoulder injuries£7,890 to £12,770Limited movement lasting about two years or substantial non-permanent soft tissue injuries lasting beyond two years.
Jaw fracture (iii)£6,460 to £8,730Complete recovery from a simple fracture that required immobilisation.

Special Damages

Special damages is the head of your claim that relates to the financial impact of your injuries. Examples of special damages include:

  • Medical expenses that you’ve had to pay for. This could include therapy for emotional distress, cosmetic devices and surgery, such as requiring specialist makeup to conceal scars or renting a wheelchair. 
  • Travel expenses to medical appointments. Taxi fares, bus fares and mileage are included as long as you supply evidence. 
  • Loss of earnings. You may find yourself out of work for an extended period due to your injuries. Lost wages are recovered under special damages, even if you claim statutory sick pay (SSP) or are part of a work sickness pay scheme. 

To further discuss what you could claim under special damages, along with information about what evidence you could submit, contact our advisors. 

How Do I Find No Win No Fee Solicitors?

The public liability claims process could prove easier with a solicitor. However, hiring legal representation could be expensive. You could minimise financial risks with a No Win No Fee arrangement, however. 

Using a No Win No Fee solicitor means there are no upfront solicitors fees or anything to pay as your claim is ongoing. Instead, successful claims will have a legally capped success fee taken from their award. A No Win No Fee arrangement can also be referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA)

Ask Us About Public Liability Claims

Get in touch with our advisors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Free legal advice is available. They can estimate your potential compensation based on your injuries. As well as discuss what you could claim under special damages and what evidence you will require. Our panel of personal injury solicitors could look at eligible claims. 

Contact us:

  • Make a claim online
  • Phone the number at the top of the screen
  • Use the live chat feature

More Resources On Public Liability Claims

You might find the following links helpful:

Learn More About Public Liability Claims

Below, you can find links to some of our other public liability claims guides:

Written by Dan

Published by Fer