Learn How To Claim Compensation Against The Council Or Local Authority

By Megan Cullen. Last Updated 24th June 2024. If you have been injured following an accident that occurred due to a local council or another type of local authority breaching their duty of care, then you may have grounds to claim compensation.

In this guide, we will explain the duty of care you are owed and the criteria you must meet to make a personal injury claim.

We’ll also discuss potential council compensation payouts and how these are calculated. Additionally, we will discuss the evidence that could be used to help support your claim.

Read on to learn more about claims against local authorities. If you would like to ask an advisor any questions about these types of claims, or potentially receive support for your case, then you can contact our team on the phone or online. You can reach us by:

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Select A Section

  1. Who Is Eligible To Claim Compensation Against The Council Or Local Authority?
  2. Council Compensation Payouts
  3. How Long Do You Have To Claim Compensation Against The Council Or Local Authority?
  4. Common Types Of Accident Claims Against Local Councils
  5. Claims Against Local Authorities – Gathering Evidence
  6. Council Compensation Claims With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  7. More Advice For Victims Of Council Accidents

Who Is Eligible To Claim Compensation Against The Council Or Local Authority?

Before considering how to make a claim against the council, it is important to understand how to know if your personal injury claim is valid.

If you were injured on council property, the council or local authority may have owed you a duty of care at the time. This means they had some form of legal obligation to keep you safe from suffering harm in an accident.

The exact nature of this duty depends on why you were there. If you were a visitor on the premises, the council’s duty of care is set by the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 (OLA). This states that they should take steps that keep visitors reasonably safe while on site.

Otherwise, if you were working for the council when the accident occurred, their duty of care comes from Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA). As the employer, the council’s duty is to take all reasonable and practicable steps to prevent workplace accidents.

Therefore, you could claim compensation from a council if you can show that:

  • The council or local authority owed you a duty of care.
  • They breached this duty. For example, they may have failed to cordon off an area they were aware was unsafe to walk on.
  • As a result of this breach, you suffered physical and/or psychological harm.

How Do I Start A Claim Against The Council?

If you’ve found that your case is eligible, you may be wondering exactly how to claim against the council. You would start the process by gathering evidence, which we cover in more detail further on in the guide, and informing the council of your claim. It is possible to do this all yourself. However, there are benefits to working with a specialist personal injury solicitor. For example, you would have someone on your side who:

  • Is experienced in pursuing council accident claims.
  • Has a deep knowledge of council compensation payouts in the UK and can push for the best possible outcome.
  • Can help the whole process run as quickly and smoothly as possible.
  • Will keep you updated every step of the way.

You can find out more about the process of claiming compensation, as well as the benefits of working with a solicitor from our panel, by calling the number at the top of this page.

Yellow Sign In Front Of Stairs. Caution Wet Floor Is Written On Sign.

Council Compensation Payouts

Compensation in claims against local authorities, such as pothole claims against the council, will depend on a few different factors. One of these is the extent of the pain and suffering. The amount calculated to address this is known as a general damages payment.

Legal professionals can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them calculate compensation for a successful claim. This publication was last updated in 2022.

The figures in the table below have been taken from the JCG, but your own circumstances will affect how much you could be eligible to receive.

The top entry of this table does not come from the JCG.

Type of injuryInformationCompensation award
Multiple Severe Injuries Plus Special DamagesSeveral severe injuries plus special damages such as medical expenses.Up to £400,000+
Moderately Severe head injuryBrain damage and permanent disability£267,340 to £344,150
Less Severe head injuryChange in cognitive function£18,700 to £52,550
Severe back injury (i)Spinal cord and nerve damage£1111,150 to £196,450
Moderate back injury (i)Could involve compression or crush fractures of vertebrae with future osteoarthritis and ongoing pain£33,880 to £47,320
Severe neck injuryIncomplete paraplegia or permanent spastic quadriparesisIn the region of £181,020
Severe leg injury (iii) seriousSerious comminuted or compound fractures causing instability.£47,840 to £66,920
Serious shoulder injuryDamage to the brachial plexus and ongoing disability£15,580 to £23,430
Moderate shoulder injuryNon permanent Soft tissue injuries but lasting for up to 2 years.£9,630 to £15,580
Minor shoulder injury (i)Painful soft tissue injuries but full recovery in less than two years£5,310 to £9,630

Some council compensation payouts will also include an amount known as special damages. This is where any financial impact of your injuries is addressed. Here are some examples of costs you could reclaim under a special damages payment if eligible:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Travel costs
  • Damage to property
  • Medical expenses

Make sure you keep receipts and other forms of evidence to prove these expenditures. Get in touch if you need any free guidance.

How Long Do You Have To Claim Compensation Against The Council Or Local Authority?

If you are eligible to claim compensation from the council, then you must start legal proceedings within the time limit. For personal injury claims, this is generally 3 years from the date of the accident as set out in the Limitation Act 1980

However, in certain circumstances, there are limitation period exceptions. For example:

  • The time limit is suspended for those who lack the capacity to claim for themselves, and during this time, a court-appointed litigation friend can act on their behalf. However, if the injured party regains this capacity and a claim against the council was not already made for them, they will have 3 years from the date they recover to start the process. 
  • The time limit is frozen for those who are injured while under the age of eighteen. A litigation friend, appointed by the courts, can claim on their behalf while it is frozen, or they can claim for themselves when the time limit begins on their eighteenth birthday. 

For more information on time limits for claiming personal injury compensation, contact our team of friendly advisors today. They can answer any questions you might have about the claims process, and may be able to connect you with a solicitor from our panel.

Common Types Of Accident Claims Against Local Councils

There are many different kinds of spaces that your local council may be responsible for. If they fail to adequately maintain these spaces, this could result in an accident or injury.

Here are a few examples of incidents in council-run spaces that could result in injuries:

  • Slips, trips and falls due to uneven pavement. For example, if the council were aware of cracked, broken or uneven paving tiles and a broken bone because you tripped over it.
  • Wet floors in council-run leisure centres. The council should ensure that spillages are cleared up in a timely manner or put up signs signifying a wet floor. Additional measures may be needed near pools and in changing rooms, such as special flooring.
  • School accidents. For example, your child could suffer a head injury due to building disrepair if an object falls from a height, such as a ceiling tile. Councils should ensure that any maintenance is carried out as soon as reasonable if repairs are reported. In the meantime, the school may take steps, such as closing a particular area until it is repaired.

If you have any questions about council compensation claims, please contact one of our team members. They can discuss the situation that resulted in your injuries and assess whether you have good grounds to claim against the council.

Bandage Being Applied To Child's Leg In Public Park.

Claims Against Local Authorities – Gathering Evidence

In terms of how to make a claim against the council, gathering evidence is one of the most important steps that you can take. Evidence is crucial in personal injury claims, and can directly affect your compensation payout.

This is because the right evidence can prove who is responsible for your accident, how severe your injuries are, and how your injuries have affected you financially. For example, to help prove your claim, you could use:

  • Photographs: Pictures of both your injuries and the accident site can be used as evidence in your claim.
  • CCTV footage: If a CCTV camera caught your accident, then you may be able to request the footage to prove your claim.
  • Witness statements: If you take down the contact details of any witnesses who saw the accident, a professional can then take their statements at a later date.
  • Medical records: Your medical records can illustrate how severely injured you were, and what kinds of treatments you are going to need in order to recover.
  • Financial documents: Financial documents, such as bills, bank statements, and wage slips, can be used to prove any financial losses caused by your injuries.

If you choose to work with a solicitor on your claim, they can help you gather evidence such as this. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how to prove your claim.

Council Compensation Claims With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

Now that we have discussed how to sue the council for negligence, you might be interested in learning about the benefits of hiring a No Win No Fee solicitor. They can ensure all bases of your claim are covered and help you gather evidence.

Through offering you a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a type of No Win No Fee contract, your solicitor usually will not ask for an upfront payment and ongoing fees are typically covered too. Your solicitor takes a legally capped success fee from your compensation if your claim succeeds.

Furthermore, when suing the council for uneven pavement or any other accident, you won’t have to pay your solicitor for their work if your claim is unsuccessful.

Get in touch if you would like an expert solicitor from our panel to assist you during the council compensation claims process. They could work with you on the basis of a No Win No Fee. Speak to our advisors for more information.

Below are a few ways you can contact us about suing the council:

  • Call our free advice line at any time on 0161 696 9685
  • Complete the callback form at the top right corner of this page
  • Pop up to an online advisor using our live chat function

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More Advice For Victims Of Council Accidents

Please get in touch at any time if you have any further questions about council compensation claims.