Public place accident claims

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*Our solicitors have a 90% success rate. Based on solicitor data 24th May 2017.

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Howard Willis

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A guide to making a No Win No Fee public liability/public places claim

Accidents in public places are common, can occur almost anywhere and are sometimes referred to as public liability accidents. Public liability refers to the fact that there is a company, public body or other party who is:

  • the owner or occupier of the place you were injured, and
  • is liable for your injury

The owner of the public place has a legal duty to ensure that all areas accessible by the public are safe and the risk of injury is minimised.

Examples of accidents in a public place are slips, trips or falls on uneven pavements, roads and other surfaces or in commercial premises such as supermarkets, shops and car parks.

Quittances panel solicitors offer legal advice and help with rehabilitation after an accident.

Who can claim for an accident in a public place?

To be eligible to make a compensation claim, the accident must have:

  • occurred within the last 3 years
  • been the cause of the injury sustained
  • resulted from the negligence of a responsible party

If the accident occurred in a public place whilst you were working for your employer, it may be more appropriate to make a compensation claim against your employer. A solicitor will be able to advise you on this point.

Time limits for claims for an accident in a public place

The three-year time limit for personal injury claims generally applies to accidents in a public place. Although it is unlike that this time limit can be extended or waived, this will depend on the circumstances of the accident.

Claiming earlier in the three-year window can mean that witnesses memory of events will be more accurate, the cause of the accident (e.g. a broken step) may still be available for inspection, and there will be more time for your solicitor to negotiate for a larger compensation settlement.

Contact a member of the Quittance panel on 0800 612 7456 if you would like to discuss your options.

Proving who was responsible

To make a successful claim, your solicitor must establish that the Defendant was legally responsible for the accident. They must also establish that your injuries resulted from the accident.

If you and the owner of the public space are both at fault, it may still be possible to receive compensation in proportion to the apportionment of blame. Cases resolved in this manner are known as split-liability agreements.

A free Compensation Claim Report offers a more detailed assessment of your eligibility to make a claim.

How could compensation help you?

The underlying principle of compensation is to attempt to put people back in a position they would have been in if the accident had not happened. Financial compensation can only ever go so far in terms of truly compensating an individual but it can enable an injured person to focus on their recovery.

An injury, whether sustained in a public place or anywhere else, can have serious implications for the injured person and their dependants. Quittances panel of specialist public liability solicitors have a track record of securing compensation awards:

  • for any pain and suffering
  • to reimburse any medical expenses such as physiotherapy
  • to reimburse any other expenses or damage to personal property
  • to cover any loss of earnings including those anticipated in the future

How we have helped people injured in a public place

Before embarking on a claim, a solicitor will discuss the circumstances surrounding the accident and set out the options available to you. The solicitor will prioritise and be sensitive to the importance of your treatment and recovery, and will direct the legal process in parallel with this.

Our panel of solicitors have a wealth of experience assisting clients injured in a variety of public places including:

  • shops, supermarkets and DIY stores
  • railway and bus stations, garages, car parks, petrol stations and taxi ranks
  • fitness centres, gymnasiums, solaria and swimming pools
  • poorly maintained roads, pavements and footpaths and unsafe road works.
  • leisure and theme parks
  • construction and building sites
  • schools, colleges and universities
  • bars, restaurants and pubs

Typically claims are made against councils and local authorities, government bodies and institutions, transport operators, companies or individuals providing a business or service.

However public liability claims can also extend to accidents that occurred in a private dwelling.

Most cases are settled out of Court as public liability insurance companies prefer to avoid expensive and protracted legal action.

How likely are you to be successful with your claim?

To successfully claim compensation for a public liability accident, you and your legal team need to show that another person or company was responsible for your injury. This is usually the owner of the property where your accident happened.

If the owner of the public property has admitted liability for the claim, your chances of winning are good. If liability is only partly accepted or contested it will be harder to reach a successful outcome.

A personal injury solicitor will help collate all of the evidence with a view to constructing the most robust case. To assist in this process you are advised to::

  • report the accident to the owner of the property, or in the case of commercial premises such as a shop, report it to the staff
  • if you did not report it at the time of the accident, report it now and include as much detail as you can remember
  • ensure that the accident is logged in the company's accident book if you are injured on commercial premises
  • take names and addresses or contact details of any witnesses
  • take photographs of the scene of the accident
  • measure any defect that caused the accident, e.g. raised flooring or a damaged paving slab that lead to a trip

How much compensation could you get?

Compensation awards guidelines are set by the Judicial College. These awards are assessed in relation to the type and extent of the injury. Guideline compensation amounts are set out in the form of minimum and maximum amounts to be awarded for any specific injury.

Technically these guidelines are not law but they are widely adopted and adhered to by the Courts as well as the majority of insurers. Quittances Compensation Claims Report predicts the amount of compensation you could receive by referring to these guidelines as well as a number of other factors specific to your accident.

Sometimes an accident may exacerbate an existing injury but it may still be possible to make a claim.

As an example, the most common injuries suffered in public liability accidents are to the back. Even then compensation awards vary enormously, depending on the severity and impact of the injury on your life, as well as how long the injuries last.

As an indication, Judicial College awards for back injuries are set out as follows:

  • A full recovery is made between a few days and a few months - up to ?1,750
  • A full recovery is made between a few months and 2 years without surgery - ?1,750 to ?6,000
  • A full or partial recovery within 2-5 years leaving nuisance level symptoms - ?6,000 - ?9,500

More complex back injuries can mean higher compensation, with between ?65,000 and ?115,000 being awarded for the most severe cases.

The cost of medical treatment, loss of earnings, damage to property and any other expenses you may have incurred can also be compensated. These are called special damages.

To get a better idea of the level of compensation you could receive, we recommend getting a Compensation Claim Report or calling Quittance on 0800 612 7456.

How long will it take to receive compensation?

The time required to complete a personal injury claim varies with the complexity of the case. Straightforward matters can be settled quickly whereas more complicated cases can take much longer to resolve.

This can be particularly concerning if you are already incurring expenses for things like medical treatment or if you are incapable of returning to work and are consequently unable to pay your bills. In these circumstances, interim compensation payments can usually be arranged in advance of a final award or settlement.

For a better estimate of how long your claim could take, speak to a solicitor on 0800 612 7456 or get an online Compensation Claim Report.

Starting a no win - no fee public place injury claim

Typically a no win no fee agreement ( referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) is put in place between the claimant and solicitor.

A CFA is essentially the conditions under which the solicitor is instructed by the client.

The CFA lays out what the solicitor will do as well as how they will be rewarded if the legal case is ultimately successful.

If you use our solicitors for your public place injury compensation claim there are no additional charges , no up-front fees and the complete peace of mind that you wont be financially out of pocket.

A free Compensation Claim Report has the answers

You may not yet be ready to talk to a solicitor. If not, a Compensation Claim Report offers a detailed calculation and assessment of your claim without the need to speak to anyone.

Specifically a CCR will estimate:

  • how much compensation you could be awarded
  • how long it should take to reach a settlement
  • the probability of success

A Compensation Claim Report (CCR) is completely free and can be generated online without the need to speak to a solicitor.

Further questions and solicitors' public liability claims advice

Public liability claims are diverse and many of your questions will be beyond the scope of this article. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions section or contact us for more information about making a claim for an accident in a public place.

For advice on claiming for an accident in a public place, or to discuss your options in more detail, contact a member of the Quittance panel of solicitors on 0800 612 7456 or you can set up a call at a more convenient time.

Next steps

If you are ready you can start your claim here or call us on 0800 612 7456. Alternatively you can arrange a call back at time that is convenient for you.