Occupiers Liability Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an injury, 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.

Owners or occupiers of business premises should have insurance to cover the cost of injury claims, and your compensation will be paid out of this policy.

We can help you make an injury claim, on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article


People, companies and other organisations who control privately-owned land or property are known as 'occupiers'. Occupiers have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of people who visit their property. This duty even applies to people trespassing on the property.

An occupier should regularly assess their premises for hazards. They should identify all possible hazards and determine if action needs to be taken to reduce or remove the risks they pose. If accidents are caused by the defective or dangerous condition of the premises, the occupier may be liable for any resulting injuries.

Children are particularly vulnerable to accidents caused as a result of occupiers' negligence. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) estimates that each year approximately 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds alone result in a hospital visit. RoSPA suggests injuries can be caused by poor layout of equipment, incorrect installation, poor maintenance and inadequate inspection.

How does the law treat occupiers liability claims?

The law is very clear regarding occupiers liability claims. Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, any lawful visitor to a property has a right to expect it to be safe. The phrase 'lawful visitor' covers any visit you make to a property either with the occupier's permission or because they have allowed access to the property.

Unlawful visitors are those who are trespassing on the property, whether they are aware they are trespassing or not. Historically, trespassers were not entitled to make occupiers liability claims. The Occupiers Liability Act 1984 was passed to grant more protection to unlawful visitors.

Do I have an injury claim?

It should be possible to make an injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • in the last 3 years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
Check my claim

Do I have a claim? - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for 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.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

Do I need a diagnosis to make an occupiers liability claim?

If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start an occupiers liability claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.

How much compensation can I claim for an injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

  • the seriousness of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the 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
  • Physiotherapy
  • 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 applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious leg injury can be £40,000

For a more minor wrist injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £2,900.

However, if you have a serious leg injury and a more minor wrist injury, you would typically receive £40,000 + a reduced percentage of £2,900.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.

What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Calculate my injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an occupiers liability claim take?

The length of time needed to win compensation for an occupiers liability claim can vary significantly.

For example, a simple liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a matter of weeks. However, if liability is denied a claim can take substantially longer. Normally an injury claim takes 4 to 9 months. For more information, see: How long will my claim take?

How else can a solicitor help me?

Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.

Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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.

Will I get advice on treatment options?

As part of the occupiers liability claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc

Who can claim for accidents on private land?

Occupiers liability claims can be made for injuries sustained anywhere an occupier owes a duty to you as a user of those premises, from supermarkets and swimming pools to building sites, playgrounds, schools and offices. If you have sustained an injury within the previous thee years as the result of an accident on someone else's property, you may be entitled to make a claim.

To make a successful claim, your lawyer must prove that the occupier was responsible for the accident and that the injuries you sustained resulted from the accident.

You may be able to claim compensation if responsibility for the injury or accident is shared by both sides. Generally, a split liability agreement will resolve these claims.

Does the law treat children differently?

The law recognises that children are less aware of dangers than adults and are less likely to take appropriate precautions. As a result, occupiers of premises that children may visit (or otherwise have access to) are held to a higher standard when a claim is made on behalf of a child. Occupiers liability claims made on behalf of children are often more likely to be successful for this reason.

What if I already knew the land was dangerous?

If you were already aware of the danger present, or if your job or experience meant you should have been more aware, you will need to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to mitigate the risk. If you took reasonable precautions and nevertheless sustained an injury, you may still be entitled to make a claim.

What if I was trespassing at the time?

Under the 1984 Act, trespassers are entitled to make a claim after sustaining an injury on unsafe or dangerous premises or land. It must be shown that:

  • The owner or occupier knew of the danger or should have known one existed
  • The owner or occupier knew or should have known you were close to the danger
  • The owner or occupier should have protected you against the danger

If you are unsure whether you had a right to visit the property where you were injured, or are not certain whether the above tests can be proven in your case, call Quittance on 0800 376 1001 for a confidential, no-obligation discussion regarding your options.

Time limits for occupier's liability compensation claims

In general, a claim for compensation can be started within three years of an injury.

Given that many occupier's liability claims involve physical accidents, t is unlikely that a person only discovers that they have been injured after some time has passed. In these cases, the three-year limit only applies from the date your illness or injury was diagnosed. This is known as the 'date of discovery'.

It is recommended that you start a claim early, as this will give your solicitor more time to gather the necessary evidence and to negotiate your claim. Witnesses may be easy to track down and interview, and other evidence such as the cause of the injury itself (e.g. a faulty door or broken tile) on the property may still not be repaired.

How could an occupier's liability claim help you?

Accidents can have serious repercussions for injured parties and their dependents. Quittance's personal injury solicitors work hard on behalf of their clients to negotiate maximum compensation for:

  • pain, suffering and loss of amenity arising from your injuries
  • lost earnings if you have had to take time off work
  • future loss of earnings if you are unable to return to work
  • the cost of medical treatment and future care relating to your injuries
  • expenses such as travel costs to and from hospital

How Quittance's solicitors can help and give advice on occupier's liability claims

Solicitors understand how critical your treatment and recovery is. In consideration of the circumstances of your accident or illness, your solicitor will tailor their advice and approach.

Many claimants have questions they would like answered before deciding whether to start a claim. Our experts are available to discuss your options in a no-obligation consultation.

Helping people make successful compensation claims for occupiers liability, Quittance's personal injury experts have acted for claimants injured in a wide range of circumstances. Settlements and Court awards have been negotiated successfully for injuries including:

  • injuries sustained after tripping over discarded or dangerous materials on a building site
  • cuts and other injuries from old barbed wire concealed near a playground
  • a child injured in a classroom after a hazard was identified but no action was taken to remove it
  • wrist, ankle, back and head injuries due to spillages in shops, bars and restaurants

To enable you to focus on your recovery, Quittance's solicitors take care of the negotiation and legal work.

It is a relief to many claimants that compensation is usually negotiated without needing to take Court action.

How likely are you to be successful with a claim for compensation

The three points needed to prove fault are:

  1. did the other side owe you a duty of care?
  2. did they breach that duty?
  3. did the breach cause your injuries?

In short, "Were the injuries caused by the owner or occupier of the property "

If it has been accepted by the occupier that they are liable, then a successful claim is very likely. If the occupier does not acknowledge liability fully it may be harder to successfully negotiate compensation.

Your solicitor will discuss with you what happened and ask questions to help build a strong case. There are some key questions that need to be answered when considering any claim under the Occupiers Liability Act:

  • Was the danger obvious?
  • What warnings, if any, were in place to help make you aware of the danger?
  • Should the area have been better lit or were lights defective?
  • Had any fences or barriers been put in place to help make it safer?
  • What were you doing at the time of your visit to the land or premises, why were you there?
  • How old were you at the time?
  • What did the Occupier know about the danger or should have known?

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

No win, no fee, no risk

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.

Our no win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your injury. 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 won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

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 call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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  • Tick icon No obligation to start a claim

Injury FAQ's

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.

Read more:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.

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.

Read more:

Claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

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.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more:

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher