Public place accident compensation claims
This guide looks at everything you need to know about making a successful public place accident compensation 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.
Quittance's panel solicitors offer legal advice and help with rehabilitation after an accident.
If you were injured in a public place accident in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
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.
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. Quittance's 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
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
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.
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
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. Quittance's 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.
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.
Accidents at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.
Find out if you can claim compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Road traffic accident claims
Every year almost 200,000* people are injured on Britain's roads. If you have been injured in a road accident that was not your fault, you can claim compensation.
Find out more about claiming public place accident compensation for a road accident: Read more about road accident claims
*Source: Official Department of Transport statistics (gov.uk)
Meet the QLS team
The nationwide panel of Quittance solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims, from fast track cases to catastrophic injury. Our solicitors are chosen for their level of specialist experience and their track record in winning cases.
Personal injury solicitors now work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
No Win, No Fee means that if your claim is not successful, you will not need to pay any legal fees.
If you do win your case, a success fee will be deducted from the compensation award and paid to your solicitor.