A guide to making a No Win No Fee injury claim for accidents on a night out
NHS statistics show that A&E admissions are measurably higher during the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning. Injuries are often alcohol-related and may be the result of a criminal act.However, accidents can also occur due to negligence. In such cases, it may be possible to make a personal injury claim.
Liability for accidents on a night out
Under the Occupier's Liability Act, any person who occupies a premises such as a bar or restaurant could be held liable in an occupiers liability compensation claim when a visitor is injured. The liability extends to both the venue itself and any adjoining garden or car park.
Owners and occupiers of premises have a legal duty of care' towards their visitors. This means the occupier must do everything reasonably practical to keep visitors safe. Regular risk assessments should be carried out and adequate health and safety measures must be in place. If the owner or occupier fails to fulfil this duty, and a person is injured on a night out as a result, a claim is likely to succeed.
Can you claim if you were drunk?
A claim can often be made even if the injured person was drunk. This is often a factor in pub and bar injury claims.Premises must be suitable for their intended use and for intended users, which covers a wide range of considerations such as suitable barriers and handrails on raised platforms and stairs, and regular checks for spills on dance floors and in bathrooms.
If it is found that the drunk individual was partly responsible for their injuries, a spilt-liability claim may be made. The applicability of this route will depend on the facts of the case.
Some of the most frequent types of accident on a night out are slips, trips and falls. Common hazards which result in these include:
- Drink and food spillages
- Poor lighting
- Obstructions on the floor and stairs
These can result in a range of injures from sprains and bruises to broken bones and back problems. Other common injury claims include those for:
- Lacerations from broken glass
- Burns from hot plates
- Gastrointestinal illness (including food poisoning)
Making a claim following a night out
Whether the Claimant slipped on a wet floor or fell whilst on the stairs, a solicitor will need to determine whether or not the venue owner acted negligently. The solicitor may consider:
- How did the accident occur?
- Could it have been reasonably foreseen?
- Could any actions have been taken to prevent it?
If a bar or restaurant owner failed to have routine checking and cleaning procedures in place which could have identified a hazard, they may be deemed negligent. Likewise, if they did not provide adequate lighting, or failed to follow health and safety regulations with regard to preparing food and drink, a solicitor would argue the owner was responsible.
Gathering evidence to support a claim
Evidence could include medical records, accident book reports, witness statements, photographs of the scene and injuries, and CCTV footage. Your solicitor will advise on what evidence would be useful in your case.
If negligence is proved and liability accepted, the owner or other responsible party should have insurance in place to cover compensation costs. If alcohol or other reckless behaviour was involved, the liable party may seek to prove contributory negligence, which may reduce the final sum.
Criminal injury on a night out
If an individual has been assaulted on a night out, or otherwise injured as the result of criminal activity, the injured person can make a claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). It is possible to pursue a claim with the CICA even if the identity of the assailant is unknown.
For more information regarding CICA claims for injuries sustained on a night out, or regarding personal injury claims generally, call 0800 612 7456 to speak to a claims expert.