Have you been injured in a public place accident caused by a third party breaching their duty of care? If so, this guide could help. It aims to answer frequently asked questions about making a public liability accident claim, including when you’re eligible to pursue compensation, how long you have to initiate legal proceedings, and what evidence can help strengthen your case.
Additionally, we give examples of how a public place accident could occur and the injuries that could be sustained as a result. Furthermore, we look at public liability claims payouts including how they are calculated and what they could comprise.
To conclude, we explain the benefits of working with an expert personal injury solicitor from our panel under No Win No Fee terms.
For further guidance, please get in touch with our helpful team of advisors. They can answer any questions you might have and assess your potential claim for free. To reach out, you can enquire about making a claim online.
Choose A Section
- What Is A Public Liability Claim?
- Is There A Time Limit For Public Liability Accident Claims?
- What Are Examples Of Public Liability Claims?
- How Much Compensation Could I Receive For An Accident In A Public Place?
- What Evidence Could Help Me Make Public Liability Injury Claims?
- How Does A No Win No Fee Solicitor Work?
- Read More About How To Claim For An Accident In A Public Place
Typically, a public liability claim is a type of personal injury claim made after you sustained an injury in an accident in a public place, such as a restaurant, supermarket, pub, on public transport, in a gym and public parks. However, there are eligibility criteria that need to be met in order for you to have valid grounds to pursue compensation.
As per the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, the party in control of a public space, known as the occupier, must take steps to ensure the reasonable safety of visitors who use the space for its intended purpose. This involves performing regular risk assessments and addressing any known hazards that pose a risk of injury.
To be eligible to start a public liability claim, you must be able to show that:
- You were owed a duty of care.
- A breach of this duty occurred.
- The breach caused you to suffer a physical and/or psychological injury.
These criteria form the basis of negligence in personal injury claims and must be proven for you to have eligible grounds to pursue compensation for an injury. Contact our team for more information.
The Limitation Act 1980 establishes a three-year time limit for starting a personal injury claim. This generally means you need to start legal proceedings three years from the accident date. However, exceptions can apply in some circumstances. For example:
- If the injured party is a child, the time limit is paused. They will have three years from their 18th birthday to begin their own claim, if one hasn’t already been started for them.
- If the injured party lacks the mental capacity to start their own claim, the time limit has an indefinite pause placed on it. If they recover their capacity, and no claim has been started for them already, they will have three years to do so themselves from the recovery date.
While the time limit is paused in both of these instances, a litigation friend could be appointed to start the claim on the injured party’s behalf.
For further guidance on the public liability claim time limits, speak to our advisors.
Below, we have provided some examples of accidents and injuries that could occur in a public place:
- A failure to display wet floor signs or alert customers to a spillage in a supermarket, despite staff being aware of the hazard, means a shopper could slip over and crack their skull or fracture their hip.
- Not fixing broken paving slabs in the street despite multiple reports being made to the local council could result in someone tripping and falling. This could lead to them fracturing their shoulder, arm or wrist in the fall.
- A customer could fall down a flight of stairs in an accident in a pub, restaurant or theatre because of inadequate lighting. This has the potential to cause serious spinal, neck and head injuries, if the poor lighting was reported but not addressed in a reasonable time frame.
Please keep in mind that not all accidents and injuries sustained in public will form the basis of a valid public liability accident claim. As such, you could benefit from contacting our team to discuss your specific case and find out whether you’re eligible to proceed.
Settlements awarded in successful public liability claims can consist of up to two heads of loss. One of these is general damages which compensate you for the physical and psychological impact of your injuries. It’s important to note, you can claim for a physical injury, or psychological injury, or both together.
To help assign a value to your injuries, those calculating general damages can refer to various resources such as medical records and the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document provides guideline compensation brackets for injuries of different types and severity.
You can find some of these figures in the table below. Please only use these as a guide, as each claim varies according to individual circumstances. Also, the top entry is not from the JCG.
|Type of Injury
|Award Bracket - Guidelines
|Multiple Serious Injuries and Financial Losses
|Multiple injuries of a serious nature alongside monetary losses, such as domestic care costs, lost earnings and medical expenses that can be compensated for.
|Up to £1,000,000 plus.
|Full-time nursing care due to the person having poor language function, double incontinence, or minimal to no meaningful response to the environment.
|£282,010 to £403,990
|(b) Moderately Severe
|A very serious disability that requires substantial reliance on others and constant care.
|£219,070 to £282,010
|(a) Severe (i)
|Serious knee injury where there is disruption of the joint and gross damage to ligaments and considerable pain and function loss amongst other issues.
|£69,730 to £96,210
|(b) Moderate (i)
|Cases in this bracket include where injuries have accelerated symptoms of a pre-existing condition for a prolonged period of years.
|£14,840 to £26,190
|(b) Severe (ii)
|Injuries of a very serious nature that lead to permanent mobility problems and necessitate the need for walking aids (such as crutches) for the remainder of the person's life.
|£54,830 to £87,890
|(c) Less Serious (i)
|An incomplete recovery is made from fractures. Serious soft tissue injuries are also covered in this bracket.
|£17,960 to £27,760
|(a) Complete Function Loss
|An arthrodesis has been performed.
|£47,620 to £59,860
|(c) Less Severe
|Permanent disability from injuries of a less severe nature, such as a level of continuing pain and stiffness.
|£12,590 to £24,500
When Can I Claim For Financial Losses?
The other head of loss is special damages which aims to reimburse your financial losses resulting from the injuries. When claiming special damages, it is essential that you present documented proof such as receipts, invoices and wage slips that show these losses. With this in mind, you might be able to claim for costs such as:
- Loss of current or future earnings.
- Travel expenses.
- Medical costs, such as prescription charges.
- The cost of adaptations needed for your home or car.
For further guidance on the compensation in successful public liability accident claims, get in touch with our team.
To give your public liability claim the best chance of success, it’s essential to collect as much evidence that the occupier breached their care duty and this caused you harm. To help you with this, we have compiled a list of actions you can take to build a strong case:
- Collect any CCTV footage available that shows your accident.
- Gather witness contact details. A statement can be taken from them at a later date.
- Obtain medical evidence of your injuries. This includes copies of X-rays, scans and any specialist reports detailing the treatment needed.
- Keep a personal diary of your physical and psychological state.
- Take photos of your injuries and the scene of the accident.
The public liability claims lawyers from our panel could help you collect evidence to strengthen your public liability injury claim for compensation. If you would like to learn more about the expert services they offer, and whether you could be eligible to instruct them to represent you, get in touch with an advisor today.
- You won’t need to pay for their services when your claim begins, or owe them fees for their ongoing services as your claim proceeds.
- There will be no fees to pay for the work they have completed on your case if it fails.
- If your claim has a successful conclusion and you are awarded compensation, a percentage of this is paid to your solicitor as a success fee. This percentage is subject to a legislative cap. This means the majority of the compensation always goes to you.
Why not find out if you can work with a public liability solicitor from our panel under these terms? Contact our team of advisors now by enquiring about making a claim online.
Please find more of our helpful guides below:
- Read what you can do after an accident in a supermarket left you injured.
- Find out if you could claim for injuries sustained following a hairdresser accident and what evidence you could collect.
- Learn what steps you can take following an accident on public transport including when you could be eligible to claim compensation.
In addition to this, these external resources offer more reading:
- A guide on broken bones from the NHS.
- Information on claiming statutory sick pay from the GOV.UK.
- Learn more on fall prevention from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Thank you for reading our guide answering questions about making a public liability accident claim. Please get in touch if you have any other questions.