Public Place Accident Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an injury in a public place, we can help.
Whether your injuries were caused by a slip, trip, fall or other incident, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim for an accident in a public place with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about how the accident happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will then identify who is legally responsible.
Based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses they will also work out how much money you can claim.
We can help you make an public place accident claim, on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article:
Do I have an injury claim?
An injury claim should be possible if your injury happened:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another party was to blame, and;
- that party owed you a duty of care.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors (under 18s).
A public place injury claim can be pursued on behalf of anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend.
The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an injury claim on their own behalf.
What if I don't know who was to blame?
You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options. Specialist lawyers have years of experience identifying the responsible party in cases where liability is uncertain.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Duty of care
An owner or operator of a public place has a legal duty of care to ensure that all areas accessible by the public are safe, and the risk of injury is minimised.
If you are injured as a result of a breach of this duty of care, you may be able to claim compensation.
Claims for accidents in public places are referred to as Public liability Claims or Occupiers Liability Claims. There will be a business, company, public body or other entity who is the owner or occupier of the place in which you were injured.
If this party breached their duty of care to you, they will be liable for your injury.
Typical public place injury claims include slips, trips and falls on uneven pavements and roads, or in commercial premises such as supermarkets, shops and car parks.
The claims process
As part of a free consultation, before you start a claim your solicitor will discuss the circumstances of your accident and explain your options. Your solicitor will be sensitive to your treatment and recovery and will direct the legal process in parallel with your needs.
Typically claims are made against councils and local authorities, government bodies and institutions, transport operators, companies or individuals providing a business or service. 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 can compensation help me?
The purpose of compensation is to try to put you back in a position you would have been in if your accident had not happened. Financial compensation can only go so far in terms of compensating you for an injury.
An injury, whether sustained in a public place or anywhere else, can have severe implications for you and your family. Quittance's panel of specialist public liability solicitors have a track record of securing compensation awards:
- for pain and suffering
- to cover 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
What type of public place accidents has Quittance helped with?
The panel of solicitors has 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
How likely am I to win my 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 else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the severity of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will calculate the amount of compensation you will need by considering how your injury has affected your life.
This calculation will include 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and are published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are awarded for any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?
If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.
The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount awarded for the other less severe injuries.
General damages for a serious leg injury can be £40,000
For a minor toe injury, in isolation, you would typically receive around £8,000.
However, as there is effectively an overlap between the pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) caused by the two injuries, you might be awarded , you could receive £40,000 + a percentage of £8,000.
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
Average compensation payouts don't really help you to estimate your compensation award, as:
- Compensation is based on specific injuries, not on an average. Different injuries, with different recovery periods, will be awarded different levels of compensation. If your work injuries were very serious, leading to life-altering symptoms, the average amount of compensation will be far less than you would be awarded.
- You can also claim compensation for any costs or losses you incur as a result of your public place injury. If, for example, your injuries affect your ability to work for a longer-than-average period, you should receive compensation for the total value of your actual lost earnings, including future lost earnings.
Can I claim for an existing public place accident that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can get complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you:
- If you have a claim
- How much compensation you could receive
- What you can claim for
How long does a public place injury claim take?
The time needed to get compensation for an accident in a public place can vary significantly.
A straightforward liability accepted public place accident claim might be concluded in a few weeks. If the defendant denies liability, a compensation claim can take longer. Typically, a public place accident claim will take 6 to 9 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
No win, no fee
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make an injury claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
No win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Why do most solicitors charge 25%?
25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. public place accident claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a callback from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.