2023 UK Public Place Injury Claim Statistics: Trends and Insights

Quittance 2023 public place injury claimant survey

Our experience in the field of public and occupiers' liability claims has shown that injured claimants are frequently not aware of their legal rights or how liability is assessed when making an injury claim.

This survey was designed to identify factors that might discourage or deter potential claimants from pursuing claims. A key focus was on assessing misconceptions or knowledge gaps about the public liability claims process that could influence an injured person's decision to take legal action.

This report presents an analysis of a large-scale survey conducted in 2023, targeting thousands of claimants at the outset of the public liability claims process.

  • Sample size: 1323 adults
  • Survey period: 01/01/23 to 31/12/23
  • Geographic coverage: England, Scotland and Wales
  • How compiled: Survey of public place injury claimants when making initial claim enquiry

In this report:

Who caused the injury

Work injuries

Psychological harm in the workplace

Serious injuries


Claimant perception of public liability

We asked claimants at the initial enquiry stage who they thought was liable for their injury. The following table is a summary of their answers:

Who claimants thought were responsible Percentage of respondents
Someone else 82.56%
The claimant 3.49%
Both another party and claimant partly liable 6.98%
Liability unclear 6.98%

Further investigation

17.45% of claimants thought that they were at least partly liable for their injuries.

From this data, it is not possible to determine how many potential claimants are deterred from making a claim due to a misunderstanding regarding their rights in a split liability public place accident. Under the principle of contributory negligence a claim is not defeated as a result of the claimant partially causing the accident or injury themselves. However, this principle is not generally understood.

Some injured people may feel that because they were partly responsible for an aspect of the accident or their injury (or believe this to be the case), they are not entitled to claim compensation and as such, do not make even initial enquiries into the viability of a claim.

The psychological impact of public place injuries

Psychological injuries, either in isolation, or as a result of a physical injury, are often overlooked. The following data highlights the prevalence of psychological injuries in a public place:

Type % of respondents % of all data
Respondents who suffered a psychological injury 16.84% 16.84%
Respondents with a psychological injury who also suffered a physical injury 72.29% 12.17%
Respondents who solely suffered a psychological injury 27.71% 4.67%

The Judicial College make provision for general damages to be paid for PTSD, and all other psychological injuries are considered under a single category of "general psychiatric damage".


Although it is possible to claim for a psychological injury that is not connected to a physical injury, many personal injury solicitors don't accept these claims. Unless a claimant's psychological injury has been diagnosed at outset of the claim, these claims can be harder to win.

Unfortunately in these cases solicitors don't always refer the claimant to firm specialising in psychological claims, or advise the claimant to obtain a second opinion.

Where a claimant has suffered both a physical and psychological injury, it is critical that the psychological injury is assessed during the claims process. It is not possible to make a second claim for psychological harm if a claimant's symptoms worsen after a compensation settlement has been agreed.

Public place injury severity

This table categorises respondents' public place injuries as minor, moderate, or severe. These categories align with the three injury claims tracks: small claims track, fast track, and multi-track, and in accordance with the Judicial College Guidelines for General Damages.

Average general damages value by injury Percentage of respondents
Minor - Less than £1,500 1.73%
Moderate - £1,500 to £25,000 71.28%
Serious - Over £25,000 26.99%

For reference: General damages claims valued at below £1,500 are handled through the small claims court process. Claims valued under £25,000 follow the fast-track process, and claims worth over £25,000 follow the multi-track process.


The government reformed the process for making a small personal injury claim on 31st May 2021. One stated intention of the reforms was that claimants with less severe injuries would be able to handle claims themselves, without legal representation.

In practice, navigating the claims process remains challenging for laypeople. Claimants must independently establish liability, review medical evidence, prove any financial losses, and correctly assess the value of their claim. Injured people may, in particular, be discouraged from making a claim by the sometimes mistaken belief that their claim falls into the small claims court category.

Respondent data

This table offers a concise breakdown of different categories of injuries suffered in public places, presented as percentages.

Injury selected by respondent % of respondents % of these respondents who suffered multiple injuries
Ankle injuries 10.95% 44.44%
Arm injuries 7.71% 42.11%
Arm injuries 0.41% 50%
Back injuries 9.33% 65.22%
Brain damage 2.84% 64.29%
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) 0.41% 0%
Chest injuries 3.85% 73.68%
Dermatitis 0.41% 100%
Facial injuries 8.92% 59.09%
Finger and thumb injuries 3.25% 31.25%
Foot injuries 5.88% 24.14%
Hair damage 0.81% 75%
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) 0.61% 66.67%
Hand injuries 3.65% 61.11%
Hernia injuries 0.41% 100%
Illness/health conditions 2.23% 45.45%
Impairment of taste and smell 1.01% 100%
Injuries affecting hearing and speech 0.61% 100%
Injuries affecting sight 0.41% 100%
Knee injuries 12.98% 40.63%
Leg injuries 8.11% 42.5%
Leg injuries 2.03% 30%
Lung-related conditions 1.83% 66.67%
Neck injuries 5.88% 58.62%
Organ damage 1.62% 62.5%
Other psychological injury 7.3% 63.89%
Pain disorders 2.64% 76.92%
Paralysis 0.2% 0%
Pelvis or hips injuries 8.32% 63.41%
Post-traumatic stress (PTSD) 9.53% 78.72%
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) 0.2% 0%
Shoulder injuries 10.34% 56.86%
Teeth loss and damage 3.25% 37.5%
Tinnitus 2.64% 92.31%
Vibration White Finger (VWF) 0.41% 50%
Whiplash 4.46% 72.73%
Wrist injuries 7.1% 57.14%

Report disclaimer

Both Quittance and the specialist panel solicitors we work with have expertise in particular areas of personal injury claims. The data collected and presented in the 2023 Quittance Public Place Injury Claimants Survey is not intended to represent the complete personal injury claims market.


Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases Sixteenth Edition

Public liability compensation claims