By Stephen Chakwas. Last Updated 6th January 2023. In this guide, we explore different aspects of making compensation claims against local councils. Our guide aims to help you understand the rights you have after sustaining an injury due to your local council failing to uphold their duty of care.
Within this guide, we’ll look at different types of circumstances that could allow you to start a personal injury claim against your local council. We’ll also break down the process and factors to consider for those asking how to sue the council for negligence following an injury. This guide will also look at different types of personal injury claims that may be made against the council, such as public park or road traffic accident claims.
As some accidents may not have been the fault of a third party, seeking compensation isn’t always possible. However, our guide aims to help you understand when the council may have been liable for the accident that caused your injury.
Additionally, even when the council is liable, you must have evidence to support your claim. Our guide will help you understand how to construct a strong case and get you the compensation you deserve.
However, if you require any further information, you can contact our team of advisors by:
Select a Section
- An Introduction To Council Compensation Claims
- Types Of Personal Injury Claims Against The Council
- Is It Common For People To Make Claims Against The Council?
- Evidence For A Claim Against A Council
- Estimated Compensation Payouts For Council Claims
- Suing The Council For Negligence – No Win No Fee Solicitors
- Contact Us And Further Information
The council has a legal responsibility to protect members of the public from experiencing harm in spaces they have control over. If they fail to do so, they could be held liable for the accident that caused an injury.
If this is the case for you, you may be able to seek compensation by pursuing a personal injury claim against the council. However, all valid claims must meet the following criteria:
- The council owed you a duty of care
- They were in breach of the duty of care they owed you
- You sustained physical or psychological harm as a result
If you’re unsure about whether your claim and the evidence backing it is strong enough to prove that the council acted negligently, our advisors are available to help. You can contact our team online or on the phone to ask questions about personal injury claims against local councils. In the next sections of this guide, we’ll explore different examples of valid claims against the council for personal injury. We’ll also talk about finding examples of council compensation payouts in the UK.
Compensation Claims Against Local Councils – Time Limits
If you can successfully claim against your local council, it’s important that you do so within the time limit set out in the Limitation Act 1980. The time limit for personal injury claims is generally three years from either the date the accident occurred or when you established the council’s negligence caused your injuries.
However, there are some exceptions to the time limit. For example, it is still possible to claim if a minor suffered a personal injury, though they are unable to represent themselves in legal proceedings. The time limit is frozen until they turn 18, at which point they have until their 21st birthday to start a claim.
Additionally, it is also possible for those with limited mental capacity to receive compensation after a personal injury. The time limit is also suspended until the date they are considered to have regained capacity, if this ever occurs. From this point, they would have 3 years to start a claim.
In both cases, a litigation friend can be appointed to claim on their behalf at any time during the suspended period. This can be any adult who can work in the claimant’s best interests.
If you are not sure whether you have enough time to sue the council for negligence, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our advisors. They can also answer other questions you may have, such as how council compensation payouts are calculated or how compensation claims against local councils are made. They are available 24/7 to offer free legal advice.
As outlined in the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, local councils that have control over public spaces have a duty of care to members of the public. They must do everything reasonably possible to keep members of the public safe while using the space for the intended purpose.
The steps they need to take may vary depending on the place. However, in most cases, they should ensure they carry out regular risk assessments to check for hazards that could lead to an accident. Furthermore, they should aim to put measures in place to deal with any risks in a reasonable amount of time. If a hazard cannot be removed or reduced (for example, a high step), it should be signposted.
By failing to do so, they could cause various types of accidents causing someone to suffer an injury. Accidents might include slips, trips and falls or road traffic accidents which could occur in a multitude of council-controlled places, such as:
- Public streets: Someone could fall down a faulty maintenance hole and break their leg. Alternatively, someone could trip over an uneven paving stone and sustain a head injury.
- Public parks: A child could trip over a broken swing left in the middle of the public play area.
- Local roads: Someone could be involved in a road traffic accident due to potholes on the road or poorly managed road works.
The council has a responsibility to oversee the health and safety within public areas. If they don’t, it could cause someone serious harm, leading to them putting forward a claim against the council.
If you have evidence to prove that the council was at fault for the accident in which you sustained an injury, call our team. They can assess your claim and determine whether you’re eligible to sue your local council for negligence.
According to the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU), 51,286 public liability cases were registered in 2020/2021. However, this was less than the 72,587 registered in 2019/2020.
The Compensation Recovery Unit recover benefits that have been made to people after accidents where the person has also made a compensation claim. Therefore, these statistics won’t represent the total number of claims made in this period.
The graph below compares the number of cases settled in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.
As you can see, the number of cases settled reduced in 2020/2021 as well. Despite the drop in public cases registered and settled, the figures highlight the frequency with which public claims, including claims against the council, may be made.
There are various steps you could take when building a strong claim against the council. For instance, some pieces of evidence could help to prove the council breached their duty of care, resulting in an accident that caused you harm.
For example, if you sought medical attention for your injury, the details should be recorded in the form of a doctor or hospital report. Such a report can highlight details of the nature of your injury, including the diagnosis and any treatment you received.
In addition, you may be asked to attend another medical assessment that’s completed independently. This can provide a report on the current state of your injury. Furthermore, it can be particularly useful if your injury occurred a while ago.
Other evidence that could prove someone acted negligently might include:
- CCTV or dashcam footage
- Pictures of the accident
- Pictures of your injury
- Details of anyone who witnessed the injury.
As well as building up a bank of evidence, it may be beneficial to seek legal representation. However, we understand that you may feel apprehensive due to the fees sometimes associated with solicitor services.
If this is the case, we have explored the alternative option of claims against the council made under a No Win No Fee agreement further down in our guide.
Please continue reading for more information. Alternatively, please speak to our team using the number listed above.
All claims against the council are unique; however, they can include general and special damages. General damages compensate you for your physical or psychological injury and how badly it’s impacted your quality of life.
Additionally, if you experienced any financial difficulties because of your injuries, you could potentially seek reimbursement for them under special damages. They could cover both past and future losses, such as:
- Lost earnings
- Care expenses
- Medical costs
- Travel expenses
It may only be possible to claim for special damages if you are eligible to claim for general damages. It’s not possible to claim for special damages alone when suing your local council for personal injuries. You will also need evidence that confirms the losses you are claiming for and how they relate to your injuries and/or treatment for your injuries.
We have created a table listing different injuries you may have sustained due to your local council’s negligence. Furthermore, the table includes example figures of what each injury may be worth as per the Judicial College Guidelines. This is a document often used to help value claims.
|Injury type||Additional details||Amount|
|Leg Injuries -Amputations (iv)||One leg is amputated below the knee. Whether the amputation had any complications will affect how much is awarded.||£97,980 to £132,990|
|Less Serious Leg Injuries (ii)||A simple femur fracture with the articular surfaces suffering no damage.||£9,110 to £14,080|
|Severe Pelvis and Hip Injuries (i)||An extensive pelvis fracture involving the bladder to be ruptures and the lower back joint to become dislocated.||£78,400 to £130,930|
|Arm Injuries||A serious fracture affecting one or both forearms causing a permanent and substantial disability.||£39,170 to £59,860|
|Moderate Knee Injuries (i)||Dislocations or a torn meniscus or cartilage that results in weakness, wasting a minor knee instability.||£14,840 to £26,190|
|Serious Shoulder Injuries||A dislocated shoulder alongside damage to the lower brachial plexus which results in shoulder and neck pain and other symptoms.||£12,770 to £19,200|
|Minor Brain and Head Injuries||Any brain damage will have been minimal. The award given may depend on different factors such as recovery time, severity and whether there are any ongoing symptoms.||£2,210 to £12,770|
|Minor Achilles Tendon Injuries||Where the ankle has turned causing some tendon damage and the need for ankle support.||£7,270 to £12,590|
|Shoulder Injuries - Fracture of Clavicle||The extent of the fracture, any residual symptoms and the disability level will affect how much is awarded.||£5,150 to £12,240|
|Wrist Injuries||A Colles' fracture that is uncomplicated.||In the region of £7,430|
However, the examples in the table aren’t a guarantee as different factors may influence the payout you receive, such as:
- The nature of your injury
- The severity of your injury
- If the injury has caused any long-term damage
For that reason, you should only use the figures as a guide. Additionally, if you seek compensation for any financial losses, these will be calculated separately and added to your overall settlement figure. Therefore, your actual settlement will vary.
When suing the council for negligence, you may want to consider hiring legal representation. The solicitors on our panel have had many years of experience in handling compensation claims against local councils. They could help you with gathering evidence, and may even offer you a type of No Win No Fee agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
There are various benefits of being legally represented with a No Win No Fee agreement, such as:
- You generally aren’t expected to pay any upfront or ongoing fees to your solicitor.
- If the claim is unsuccessful, you usually aren’t expected to pay your solicitor for their services.
- If your solicitor wins your claim, you will pay them a legally capped success fee from your compensation.
Contact our advisors today if you have any questions about hiring a solicitor on the basis of a No Win No Fee agreement. Our advisors could also answer questions about how to start a claim against the council and the compensation payouts you could receive if your case wins.
We hope you’ve found our guide on claims against the council helpful. However, we understand that you may still have questions.
If so, you can speak to a member of our team by getting in touch on the details below:
- Telephone – 0113 460 1215
- Fill out the online contact form
- Use the live chat feature to speak to an advisor below
Use the free government tool to determine whether you’re eligible to seek compensation against your local council for negligence.
For advice on accident prevention, visit the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).
Below, you can find links to some of our other public liability claims guides:
- Public Liability Claims
- Can I Get Compensation After An Accident In A Supermarket?
- Claim Compensation For An Accident In A Public Place
- Accident In A Shop – How To Make A Claim
We hope that reading our guide on making compensation claims against local councils has proven helpful for you. If you would like more information on any aspects of this topic, such as UK compensation payouts from the council, then you are welcome to contact our team of advisors. You can reach them online or on the phone using the contact details included further up within this guide.
Written by MEG
Published by FER