If you've been set back by an injury in a public place, we'll help you move forward
If you or someone close to you has experienced an injury in a public setting, we can help. Whether you've tripped on an uneven pavement, slipped in a supermarket, or sustained an injury in any area open to the public, it may be possible to claim compensation.
With the help of a personal injury solicitor, if it an be established that your injuries resulted from another party's negligence or actions, the chances of a claim succeeding are high.
In this article
With nearly 55,000 people injured in a public place every year, you're not alone
If you've been injured in a public place, you're not alone. According to the Compensation Recovery Unit at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), 53,403 public liability injury claims were registered between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023.
Public liability claims account for around 10% of all personal injury claims, and there's support and guidance available to help you through this challenging time.
If you're in a public place, someone owes you a duty of care
A duty of care is when a person or organisation has a legal obligation to safeguard the well-being of others. For example, employers have a duty of care to their employees, road users have a duty to other road users, and doctors have a duty to their patients.
In the context of public places, the entity responsible for the space has a duty to keep it safe and free from from any hazards that could cause harm to the public.
If you are injured as a result of a breach of this duty of care, you may be able to claim compensation for your injury, medical treatment and any costs or losses you incur as a result if the accident.
Am I eligible to claim compensation for a public place injury?
As a general rule, you can make a claim if you were injured:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
For an injured child, the three-year limitation period begins on their 18th birthday, giving them until they are 21 to start a claim.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Determining who is to blame for an accident is not always black and white.
In our recent 2023 Public Liability Injury Claimant Survey, 17.45% of respondents believed they may have been partly (or wholly) responsible for their injuries.
Claims are usually possible even when your actions partially caused the accident. In instances of 'contributory negligence', claims are usually settled with a split liability agreement.
How much compensation can I claim for a public place accident injury?
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. 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'.
Public place accident injury
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
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.
See also:How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your injury such as diagnostic imaging tests, physical therapy and surgical intervention.
Claiming compensation for psychological injuries
Psychiatric harm is less obvious than physical injury, but the consequences can be just as difficult to deal with.
Our 2023 Public Place Injury Claimant Survey highlights that 29.03% of claimants reported they had suffered a psychological injury, 70.97% of which related to a physical injury.
Your solicitor will help ensure that any psychological harm you have suffered as the result of another party's negligence is recognised and included in the calculation of your compensation award or settlement. In addition, you can also claim for mental health treatment costs that may not be readily available on the NHS.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Public liability or occupier's liability?
Every publicly accessible space will have an individual, company, public body or other entity who is the owner or occupier of the place in which you were injured. If you are researching the process of making an injury claim, you may come across the terms 'public liability' and 'occupiers liability'.
Occupiers liability is the term used when the public space is owned privately, such as a supermarket, bars or restaurants
Public liability is the term used when the public space is owned publicly, for example a pavement, public park or council building.
Regardless of how the public space is owned, if the owner or occupier breached their duty of care to you, they will be liable for your injury. We have helped 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
The claims process
At the outset of the claims process, you will speak to a claims expert about your options for compensation. Before you make a decision to claim, the advisor will explain how the process works, and answer any questions you have.
Once you are ready to proceed, you will instruct a personal injury solicitor to start your claim. You will need to give detailed information about your injury or illness and how it was caused.
Your lawyer will then arrange for a medical assessment, submit your claim against the party responsible, and negotiate a compensation settlement on your behalf.
How likely am I to win my claim?
To win a public liability compensation claim, your solicitor must prove that someone else, typically the property owner, was responsible for your injury. If the property owner admits liability, your chances of success are high. However, if liability is partially or fully contested, the case obviously becomes more challenging. A personal injury solicitor will gather evidence to argue the strongest possible case on your behalf.
What can I do to help my case?
If you have recently been injured in a public place, the following steps will help if you decide to make a claim:
- report the accident to the owner of the property, or in the case of commercial premises such as a shop, report it to the manager
- if you didn't report the accident at the time, report it now including as much detail as you can remember
- ask for confirmation that the accident is logged in the accident book
- take names and 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 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.
How we can help you with your injury claim
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.
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee injury claim, we are open:
Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
Handled with the utmost professionalism... extremely kind, courteous and empathetic.
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 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.