In this article, we explore some frequently asked questions regarding public liability claims, including when you could be eligible to seek compensation, how compensation is calculated, what evidence can help support a claim, and how a No Win No Fee solicitor could assist you.
Additionally, we discuss the duty of care those in control of a public space owe you as a member of the public and give examples of how this could be breached leading to an accident and subsequent injury.
Furthermore, we look at the public liability claims process by detailing the steps you need to take when seeking compensation.
For more information on public liability compensation claims, please get in touch with an advisor. They can assess your case for free and determine whether you’re eligible to proceed. If you are, they might be able to connect you with a solicitor from our panel who has experience handling claims for public place accidents. To get in touch, you can:
Choose A Section
- What Is A Public Liability Claim And Who Are They Made Against?
- What Are Potential Examples Of Public Place Accidents?
- I’ve Had An Accident In A Public Place – What Do I Need To Claim?
- What Amount Of Compensation Could I Receive From A Public Liability Accident Claim?
- What Is The Personal Injury Claims Process?
- Why Choose A No Win No Fee Solicitor To Claim Public Liability Compensation?
- More Resources About Public Liability Injury Claims
You might be wondering ‘what is a public liability claim?’. Typically, it is a type of personal injury claim made following an accident in a public place, such as a park, library, gym, or shopping centre. They are generally made against the controller of the space, often referred to as an occupier. For example, you may have been injured in an accident in a shop after slipping on a wet floor where no sign was put down or the spill was not cleaned up, despite it being reported to a member of staff. If you met the eligibility criteria to make a claim, it would be directed against the shop rather than the member of staff.
Occupiers or those in control of a public space, owe a duty of care to members of the public under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. They must take steps to ensure the reasonable safety of those using the space for its intended purpose. Some of the steps they can take to uphold this duty include conducting regular risk assessments and implementing measures to address any hazards of which they become aware, and ensuring staff are adequately trained.
If this duty is breached, it could potentially lead to a public place accident. However, not all accidents will form the basis of a valid public liability claim. In order to have valid grounds to proceed with your case, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You were owed a duty of care by the occupier.
- They breached this duty.
- You can prove that this breach caused you to suffer harm.
These points define negligence in tort law and are the essential foundation for a public liability claim.
Is There A Time Limit When Making A Claim For Public Liability?
The Limitation Act 1980 outlines a standard 3-year time limit for personal injury claims. This can be subject to alterations under certain circumstances.
For example, where the person is under the age of 18, or the person claiming lacks the mental capacity to do so themselves, the time limit is paused. While it is paused, a suitable adult can be appointed as a litigation friend to make the claim on the injured person’s behalf.
If no claim is made for a child by their 18th birthday, they will have three years to start legal proceedings themselves. If the party who lacks the mental capacity to claim recovers this capacity, and no claim has been made for them, they will have three years from the recovery date to start legal proceedings themselves.
For more information on public liability accident claims, including the eligibility criteria and time limits, please contact an advisor on the number above.
Below, we have provided some examples of public place accidents and the injuries that could be sustained:
- There may have been no wet floor sign displayed to alert customers of a spillage in a supermarket aisle after members of staff were made aware of the hazard. As such, a shopper may have slipped over and sustained a broken hip injury.
- A failure to fix broken paving slabs despite multiple reports being made may have caused someone to fall in the street and suffer fractures and lacerations as well as a serious brain injury.
- A customer could fall down a flight of stairs in a restaurant due to inadequate lighting in the stairwell. The fall could result in the customer sustaining serious back and spinal injuries.
Please contact our team to find out more about public liability and whether you could seek compensation for a personal injury following a public place accident.
To give your personal injury claim the best chance of success, it’s important to collect as much proof as you can that an occupier breaching their duty of care resulted in you sustaining an injury. With this in mind, below we have listed some actions that you can take to build your case:
- Gather CCTV footage of the accident if possible.
- Collect witness contact details with a view to getting a statement at a later date.
- Obtain copies of medical evidence, such as X-rays, scans, and doctor reports detailing any treatment you needed.
- Keep a personal diary of your physical and psychological symptoms.
- Take pictures of both your injuries and the accident scene.
A solicitor from our panel could assist you in gathering evidence to substantiate your claim for a public liability accident. If you would like to find out more about the services they can offer, and whether you’re eligible to instruct them to represent you, please call an advisor on the number above.
Two heads of loss can make up your settlement in a successful personal injury claim. General damages aim to compensate you for the pain and suffering caused by the physical and/or psychological injury you sustained.
Those responsible for calculating the value of general damages can use different resources to help them, such as medical reports and the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). In the JCG, there is a set of guideline compensation brackets that correspond to different types of injuries.
Award Bracket Guidelines
There is a selection of injuries and their corresponding amounts from the JCG in the following table. Please use these as a guide only.
|Type of Injury||Severity||Notes||Award Bracket - Guidelines|
|Paralysis||Tetraplegia||Paralysis of the upper and lower body.||£324,600 to £403,990|
|Brain Damage||Very Severe||The person needs full-time nursing care as a result of the person showing little to no evidence of having a response to their environment that's meaningful. They will also show little or no language function as well as double incontinence.||£282,010 to £403,990|
|Moderate (iii)||Personality, senses and employment prospects are affected. The person also has a significant risk of epilepsy and a moderate to severe intellectual deficit.||£150,110 to £219,070|
|Neck||Severe (i)||Incomplete paraplegia from an associated neck injury. This bracket also covers cases where the person has little to no movement in the neck alongside severe headaches despite wearing a collar 24 hours a day for several years.||In the region of £148,330|
|Arm||Severe||Whilst injuries in this bracket fall short of amputation, they are still extremely serious and leave the person little better off than if they had completely lost their arm. Examples include a serious brachial plexus injury.||£96,160 to £130,930|
|Knee||Severe (i)||A serious knee injury involving, for example, joint disruption, ligament damage, and considerable pain and function loss.||£69,730 to £96,210|
|Leg||Severe (ii)||Injuries of a very serious nature causing permanent mobility problems.||£54,830 to £87,890|
|Ankle||Very Severe||Transmalleolar fracture of the ankle and soft-tissue damage that causes deformity and the risk of any future injury to the leg might require amputation.||£50,060 to £69,700|
|Back||Moderate (i)||Cases of a compression or crush fracture to the lumbar vertebrae causing ongoing discomfort and pain with a substantial risk of osteoarthritis.||£27,760 to £38,780|
|Hip||Moderate (i)||An injury to the pelvis or hip that is significant but any permanent disability is not major.||£26,590 to £39,170|
What Financial Losses Could I Claim For?
The second head of loss, special damages, compensates for the financial losses incurred due to your injuries. If you have documented proof of these, such as receipts, bank statements, wage slips, and paid invoices, you could claim back:
- Loss of earnings.
- Care costs.
- Travel expenses.
- The cost of adaptations to your home or vehicle.
- Medical costs.
For further guidance on how public liability compensation is calculated, please contact an advisor on the number above.
The personal injury claims process, must follow the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims. These protocols are what the court would expect to be conducted before a case is taken to court. They are a list of actions that should be undertaken to try to resolve the matter:
- Send a Letter of Notification. This is to inform the defendant that you are likely to make a personal injury claim.
- Rehabilitation. At the earliest possible moment, the parties should consider if the claimant will need rehabilitation or medical treatment.
- Send a Letter of Claim. This provides a summary of the facts on which the claim is based as well as any injuries suffered.
- The Response. The defendant must reply within 21 working days. The response should identify the insurer. Then the defendant will have a maximum of three months from the date of acknowledgment of the Letter of Claim to investigate.
- Disclosure. Exchange of relevant information to help in clarifying or resolving issues in dispute.
- Experts. The claimant should have an independent medical assessment and a report be generated.
- Negotiations. This is where a Part 36 offer can be made and permits claimants and defendants to make offers to settle pre-proceedings.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution. When parties cannot agree, they can try arbitration or mediation to resolve the issue. If the matter cannot be resolved here then legal proceedings will need to be initiated.
If you instruct a solicitor, they can carry out these steps on your behalf. To find out whether a solicitor from our panel could take on your case and help you through the different stages of the claims process, please contact an advisor on the number above.
Instructing a solicitor to represent you can offer several advantages. For example, they can help you gather evidence, send correspondence on your behalf, and ensure your claim is brought forward in the relevant time frame.
Our panel of personal injury solicitors can offer services similar to these through a version of a No Win No Fee contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). A CFA typically includes the following terms:
- No upfront fees for the solicitor to begin working on your case.
- As the claim develops, no fees are requested for the solicitor’s ongoing work.
- Should the claim fail, solicitors require no fee for their services.
A success fee will be paid to the solicitor if the claim has a successful outcome. The success fee is taken as a percentage of your compensation. However, a legal cap applies ensuring you receive the bulk of the payout.
If you are interested in seeing if you could be eligible for compensation by making a public liability claim, speak to an advisor. They can provide a cost-free, no-obligation assessment of your particular circumstances. If they find you have eligible grounds to proceed, they could connect you with an expert solicitor from our panel.
To reach out, you can:
Find more of our helpful guides below:
- Read about public liability claims against the council to learn when you could be eligible to seek compensation.
- Learn if you could make a claim if a pothole accident caused you to sustain an injury.
- Find some helpful public liability claim examples to help you understand when it could be possible to pursue compensation.
Find some helpful external resources:
- Information on claiming compensation after an accident or injury from GOV.UK.
- A guide on identifying a broken bone from the NHS.
- Guidance on the falls prevention campaign from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Thank you for taking the time to read our guide answering frequently asked questions about public liability accident claims. If you require any further guidance, please contact an advisor using the details provided above.