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Accidents In Public Places Claims

When you’re out in public, you have a right to be safe and secure – whether that’s a trip to the park, your local leisure centre, or a library. Unfortunately, some people find that their local council fails to create a safe environment.

If you – or a loved one – suffer an accident or injury in a public place, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim.

What is a public place?

A public place is an area that is open and accessible to all members of the community. Common types of public places include parks, playgrounds, and public transportation. While private property can also be open to the public, such as a restaurant or store, it is not considered a public place.

The distinction is essential because public places are subject to different rules and regulations than private property. For example, gathering in a public park does not require a permit, but holding a protest on private property would.

Understanding the difference between public and private places is essential for complying with the law and respecting the rights of others.

However, if you have an accident in a public place, it doesn’t matter whether it’s operated by your local authority or a private owner – you can still claim compensation.

Find out more about making a claim against the council.

Claims against local authorities

Your local council is responsible for creating a safe environment in their public spaces for the public. From parks to the highways, libraries and other public places, the council has to ensure they’re free of hazards and all staff members know how to promote safety.

When this doesn’t happen, and a person has an accident or gets injured in a public place, they can make a public liability claim.

Public liability claims often occur due to the following:

  • Potholes in the road
  • Uneven and broken paving slabs
  • Icy pavements/roads
  • Inadequate street lighting

Claims against private organisations

Private organisations that operate in public places also have to take responsibility for the public using their space. If the accident happened because the business failed to ensure the safety of inhabitants, this is known as occupiers’ liability.

Occupiers’ liability claims are similar to public liability claims against local authorities, and they usually occur when a member of the public is injured in:

  • A place of education
  • Supermarkets
  • Shopping centres
  • Cafes and bars
  • Restaurants

The common causes of personal injury claims

As public place injury claims fall under a large umbrella, cases are rarely the same. However, some common accidents in public place claims include poor maintenance of public roads, faulty public transportation, and trips or falls in supermarkets.

Common accidents include:

  • Falls due to broken park equipment or off of public transport.
  • Slips and trips can be from poorly maintained pavements, obstructions and equipment left in the way.
  • Collisions due to poor lighting or obstructions.

Typical injuries include:

  • Head injuries.
  • Broken bones and dislocations.
  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Back and spinal trauma.

There are so many injuries that might occur, and some might be more serious than others. The critical thing to remember is that any injury sustained in a public place (that wasn’t your fault) can be eligible for compensation – no matter how minor it is.

Of course, serious injuries caused by local authorities and private companies will result in more compensation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t claim for cuts and broken bones.

Been bitten by a dog while you were using a public place? Find out more about dog bite claims.

Are you eligible to make a claim?

Many people struggle to determine their eligibility for compensation, but in most cases – the claim is likely to be valid. The best way to see if you – or a loved one – can file a claim is to evaluate whether the authority or organisation were at fault.

For example, if you’re in a supermarket and slip on the floor, you can make a claim if they fail to put up a warning sign. Similarly, if your child suffers a cut due to poorly maintained park equipment, you have the right to pursue it further.

However, organisations have to be careful and often ensure they stick to health and safety laws to prevent claims from happening.

Was the organisation at fault?

The determining factor in your eligibility is whether you can prove the local authority or organisation was at fault. For example, if your child is in the park and decides to jump off the climbing frame, that’s nothing to do with the council.

Similarly, if you’re in the supermarket and ignore a wet floor sign, you’ll have trouble proving the local authority was negligent.

Filing a personal injury claim

Some people head straight to a lawyer, but it’s important to figure out your rights before going down that road. While most legal services operate on a no win no fee basis, others will charge upfront fees when there’s no guarantee of winning.

To find out if you’re eligible to make a public liability claim for injuries sustained following your accident in a public place, speak to a specialist legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438, or fill in the online form and request a call back.

Claim compensation using a specialist legal firm certified by the Solicitors Regulation Authority partners with the UK’s best no win no fee law firms, so you can guarantee you’ll get the best possible support. Once you meet with your lawyer and discuss the case in more detail, they’ll let you know if they want to take your case on.

The good thing about a no win no fee claim, is that most solicitors will only put a case forward if they believe it will be successful. Your solicitor won’t get paid any fees unless they win the case for you, so it removes any financial risk from you.

Gathering evidence

Personal injury solicitors will go out of their way to gather evidence on your behalf because they want the claim to be successful. Your lawyer will look for reports of your injuries and any medical treatment you receive and gather evidence of the negligent party.

It’s also helpful if you – or someone else – take photos when the accident occurs because it makes the process easier for your personal injury solicitor.

Negotiations with the negligent party

Working with specialist personal injury solicitors means they’ll work hard to ensure you get maximum compensation. Once your lawyer has all the evidence, they’ll notify the negligent party, and their solicitors will offer a settlement.

However, because your lawyer will try to get you maximum personal injury compensation, the process could continue for a while, until both parties settle.

In some cases, both parties might fail to reach an agreement, and you might have to enter into court proceedings, but this is a rare occurrence, and your solicitor will represent you in court.

Settling and moving on

When the accident claims process ends, your lawyer will take their fee out of the compensation claim, and you’ll be able to move on with your life.

Find out if you’re eligible to claim compensation today

If you’d like to discuss your eligibility to claim compensation, get in touch with a specialist legal advisor for free initial legal advice today. Simply call for a zero obligation discussion on 0800 234 6438 or use the form to request a callback. If they believe you have a claim, they’ll put you in touch with the best personal injury lawyers in the UK, so begin the legal process today and take the first step to get back on your feet and look forward to the future.

Frequently asked questions

How much compensation will I receive?

There’s no set amount for any type of injury because it entirely depends on the extent of the damage, any costs you incur due to treatments and the degree of negligence. You can use a claims calculator to get a general idea, but only a personal injury solicitor will be able to tell you the precise amount you could be entitled to.

Even then, it depends on how receptive the negligent party is and how much evidence you gather.

Will my public liability claim be successful?

Public liability accidents happen, and in most cases, you’ll be able to prove that the site’s private or public organisations are at fault. However, if you want peace of mind that you will be able to claim compensation, it’s best to speak to trained specialist legal advisors first.

When they put you in touch with public liability lawyers, if they believe that you have a case – then your lawyer will confirm it. Working with a no win no fee law firm also means your lawyer has confidence that you’ll win some compensation.

Should I collect evidence myself?

It always helps if you can strengthen your claim from the start, so taking photos of the scene and asking for the contact details of people who witnessed the accident can help to increase the compensation awarded.

Expert personal injury solicitors know how to gather evidence too, but anything you can do to move the case along will be beneficial.

Will I have to attend a medical assessment?

Medical professionals are integral to the personal injury claims process because they can verify your injuries and write a report demonstrating how they impact your life.

The negligent party can also arrange medical appointments, but remember that these reports help your claim.

How long do I have to make a claim?

Most injury claims have strict time limits, and you have to make a claim within three years of the incident occurring. However, a child can claim for three years after they turn 18, which gives young people more time.

Parents can also claim on behalf of their child or a loved one who might be declared a vulnerable adult or have reduced mental capacity. If a spouse or family member passes away due to an accident in a public place, their next of kin are also eligible to claim in their name.

Should I claim from local authorities?

Some people worry about making a claim against their local council, but these organisations have to protect the public. If they fail their duty, you should make them aware, so the authority can review safety regulations and make changes for the future.

Remember, you might be lucky and have some cuts and scratches or a broken bone, but if your local authority continues to neglect its legal duty, someone else could suffer from a more severe injury or fatality.

What can I do after a successful claim?

Once your money comes through, you can use it for prescription costs, seeking private therapies, amending your home and pretty much anything else. Some people receive a lump sum, while others enter into an agreement for a portion of the money over several years.

It’s your money, and you can do what you want with it.

Why not just go straight to a lawyer?

Claims UK offers a free consultation to all potential claimants, and it can be a quicker process than having numerous conversations with personal injury experts. When you call 0800 234 6438, or use the form to request a callback, and speak with a specialist legal advisor, they can tell you all about the claim process and whether you’re likely to secure compensation.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.