Compensation Claims for Accidents in Public Places

Quick Answer: If you’ve been injured in non-fault accident whilst in a public place, it is likely that you can pursue a claim for personal injury compensation. The prospects of succeeding with such claims depends on establishing liability against a 3rd party, demonstrating that negligence played a part in your accident and making a claim within the prescribed time limits. The best course of action after an accident is to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Owners of public spaces have a legal duty of care to ensure the safety of visitors where possible. When they fail to uphold this duty and someone is injured in an accident, they can be held liable to compensate the injured person.
  • To make a successful public accident claim, a Solicitor must prove that the organisation or business responsible for the public space in question was negligent. Reporting an accident within an accident book or similar and gathering evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and photographs will greatly support your case.
  • Working with Direct2Compensation’s specialist public accident Solicitors can significantly improve your chances of succeeding and will ensure that you receive fair & appropriate compensation, without the risk of expensive legal fees due to our straightforward no win no fee service.

What is an Accident in a Public Place?

Thousands of people suffer injuries each year due to accidents in public places. From shops and restaurants to parks and pavements, there are many potential hazards that could cause injury. In legal terms, many of these incidents fall under the concept of public liability and occupier liability. This refers to the responsibility of property owners, local authorities, and businesses to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of individuals who visit and use their premises or public spaces.

Understanding Public Liability

Public liability is a crucial legal concept that underpins the majority of compensation claims for accidents in public places. Under UK law, property owners, local authorities, and businesses have a duty of care to ensure that their premises are safe for public use. This duty is enshrined in legislation such as the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and 1984, which outline the legal obligations of those in control of public spaces.

For example, if a supermarket fails to clean up a spillage or hazard on the floor of an aisle promptly and a customer then slips and injures themselves as a result, the supermarket could be held liable for the accident. Similarly, if a local authority neglects to carry out regular inspections of highways and pavements and fails to identify or repair a dangerous pothole within a reasonable period of time, a pedestrian or cyclist who sustains injury by tripping or catching the pothole may pursue a claim and hold the local authority liable for the incident due to negligence.

Common Types of Accidents in Public Places

There are numerous types of accidents that can occur in public places, each with its own set of typical causes, potential injuries, and considerations for making a compensation claim. Some of the most common include:

Can You Claim Compensation for an Accident in a Public Place?

If you’ve been injured in an accident that occurred in a public place, you may be wondering whether you’re eligible to claim compensation. The answer depends on several key factors, including establishing liability, proving negligence, and acting within the required claim limitation period.

Establishing Liability in Public Accident Claims

To make a successful public accident claim, the claimant and solicitor must first establish who is liable for the injuries. This involves considering the legal concepts of duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In simple terms, you must show that the person or organisation responsible for the public space had a duty to do their utmost to ensure your safety. Furthermore, that they failed to fulfil this duty, and that their failure directly caused your injuries and resulting damages. For example, if you tripped on a broken pavement, you would need to prove that the local authority responsible for maintaining the pavement:

  1. Had failed to carry out routine inspections or act on reports from the public
  2. Had failed to repair the hazard when they should have done so
  3. And that these failures led to your accident

We are experts in this field and can advise you as to how best to ensure that your claim is robust and likely to succeed.

Proving Negligence in Public Liability Cases

Demonstrating negligence on the part of a 3rd party is a crucial element in public liability claims. To succeed with your claim, your Solicitor must demonstrate that the responsible party acted negligently. This involves proving four key points:

  1. The responsible party had a duty of care to ensure your safety
  2. They breached this duty by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent accidents
  3. Their breach caused your accident and injuries
  4. You suffered damages as a result of the accident

Evidence such as witness statements, CCTV footage, accident book entries and medical expert reports will support your claim. They can demonstrate negligence on the part of organisation or business responsible for the area where you were injured.

Time Limits for Making a Public Accident Claim

It’s essential to be aware of the time limits for making a public accident claim in the UK. Generally, any person injured in a non-fault accident has three years from the date of the accident or the date they became aware of their injuries to start a claim or enter in to legal proceedings. Failing to start your claim before the deadline will see you statute barred and you’ll lose your right to compensation. As such, it is vital that you start your claim at the earliest opportunity. There are some exceptions to the standard time limit, such as cases involving children (those under 18 at the time of an accident have until their 21st birthday to make a claim) or individuals with mental disabilities, where the three-year period may be extended.

How Much Compensation Can You Claim for an Accident in a Public Place?

The final settlement value of compensation for public accident claims will depends on various factors. For instance, the severity of your injuries, the impact on your daily life, and the financial losses you’ve incurred.

Factors Affecting Compensation Amounts in Public Accident Claims

Several factors will influence the amount of compensation awarded in a public accident claim, including:

  1. Severity of the injuries: More serious injuries will attract higher compensation settlement figures.
  2. Length of recovery time: Longer recovery periods often result in larger settlements.
  3. Impact on quality of life: If your injuries have a significant impact on your daily activities and enjoyment of life, you will receive more compensation.

Solicitors and insurers use these factors to assess the value of your claim and determine an appropriate settlement amount. For example, if you suffered a broken leg in a public accident that required surgery and six months of rehabilitation, you would receive more compensation than someone who sustained a minor ankle sprain that healed within 6-8 weeks.

General Damages for Pain, Suffering, and Loss of Amenity

General damages compensate you for the non-financial impacts of your injuries, such as pain, suffering, and loss of amenity (PSLA). PSLA is assessed using medical evidence of your injuries and prognosis, and by using guidelines from the Judicial College. These guidelines provide a range of compensation amounts for various types of injuries. For example, according to the guidelines, a minor ankle injury could be awarded between £1,000 and £5,000, while a severe ankle injury could receive between £30,000 and £50,000. As with everything in personal injury, evidence is key and ensuring that you seek medical attention and follow up treatments where needed will allow your solicitor to demonstrate that your suffering merits a higher value settlement.

Special Damages for Financial Losses and Expenses

Special damages compensate you for the financial losses and expenses you’ve incurred as a result of your accident. These can include:

  • Loss of earnings: If you’ve had to take unpaid time off work due to your injuries, you can claim for lost income.
  • Medical expenses: You can claim for the cost of any private/paid for medical treatments, such as prescription fees, physiotherapy, or counselling.
  • Travel costs: If you’ve had to travel to medical appointments or other related activities, you can claim for your travel expenses.
  • Care and assistance: If you’ve required help with daily tasks or personal care due to your injuries, you can claim for the cost of this assistance.

To claim special damages, you’ll need to provide evidence of your losses, such as payslips, receipts, and invoices.

Compensation Amounts for Common Public Accident Injuries

Compensation amounts awarded for public accidents will vary depending on injury severity and the impact on the claimant’s life. Each claim will be considered on it’s own merits and the evidence available to support the claim. Here are some examples of typical compensation ranges for common injuries:

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Public Accident Claim

To increase your chances of receiving the maximum possible compensation amount for your injury and losses, it’s crucial to ensure that your solicitor can gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This can include:

  • Medical records: These provide proof of your injuries and the treatment you’ve received.
  • Witness statements: Statements from people who may have seen your accident can help establish liability and corroborate your account of events.
  • Photographs: Photos of the accident scene, showing any disrepair or hazard that caused your accident along with photographs of your injuries or scarring is really valuable evidence.
  • CCTV footage: If your accident was captured on CCTV, this footage can provide strong evidence to support your claim.
  • Accident book entry: Reporting your accident ensures that there is a written record showing the date, time and location of an incident, along with your injury symptoms.

Our specialist team and expert solicitors will help you gather and preserve supporting evidence to ensure that we build a strong case for you and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

The Public Accident Claims Process

We know that the claims process can seem daunting, but our clear, friendly and professional support will ensure that your claim proceeds smoothly and that you receive the compensation you deserve. In the UK, the average duration of a public accident claim is 12-18 months. This can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case and the severity of the injuries.

Reporting an Accident in a Public Place

Perhaps the most important and often first step in the claims process is to report the details of your accident and any injuries to the relevant authorities or the party responsible for the area where the incident occurred. This should be done as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the accident. When reporting the accident, be sure to include key details such as the date, time, location, and a brief description of what happened. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene showing any hazards that contributed to the incident.

Seeking Medical Attention and Gathering Evidence

Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s very helpful to your claim if you seek medical attention promptly after an accident in a public place. Not only will this ensure that you receive the necessary treatment, but it will also create a record of the injuries sustained. This can serve as valuable evidence in your claim. In addition to medical records, other items of supporting evidence to gather may include witness contact details, photographs of the accident scene and receipts for any expenses incurred as a result of the incident.

Finding the Right Public Accident Solicitor

Working with a specialist public accident solicitor will significantly improve your chances of success and help you to secure the maximum compensation for your claim. When choosing a solicitor, look for a specialist with experience in handling public liability claims, a strong track record of success, and excellent communication skills. Any good personal injury solicitor will offer to pursue your claim on a No Win No Fee basis if they believe that your claim is likely to succeed. With over 28 years’ experience, Direct2Compensation can help you to find the perfect solicitor to represent your claim, and with the most transparent No Win No Fee service available.

No Win No Fee Public Accident Claims

No win no fee agreements allow you to pursue your claim without having to pay upfront costs. They also protect you from the risk of defendant costs if your claim does not succeed. These agreements remove the need to worry about the financial risks associated with pursuing a claim. You will only pay your solicitor if you win, with the bulk of that fee payable by the defendants.

If your claim is successful, your solicitor is required to deduct a fee from your compensation, typically up to 25%. However, be aware that some firms will charge a higher fee.

If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t owe your solicitor or the defendants anything. Our solicitors generally won’t advise you to take out After the Event insurance cover to mitigate this risk. In most cases, such cover simply isn’t required.

Negotiating a Settlement for Your Public Accident Claim

Once your solicitor has gathered all the necessary evidence and assessed the merits of your case, they will send a letter of claim to the defendant. This outlines the details of the accident, why the defendant is negligent and liable, and why compensation is being sought. The defendant then has a set period to investigate the claim before they admit or deny liability. In many cases, the defendant will make a settlement offer, which your solicitor will advise you on. If the offer is fair and reasonable, the solicitor will advise that you accept it. If the solicitor is of the view that the offer is below the fair value, they will advise that you reject it and use evidence to negotiate further on your behalf.

Receiving Your Public Accident Compensation

If your claim is successful, either through a negotiated settlement or a court award, you will typically receive your compensation within 14-28 days. Your solicitor will deduct their fees and any other expenses from the award before transferring the balance to you. With us, this is capped at no more than 25% of any awarded damages. Depending on the nature of your injuries and your personal circumstances, you may choose to receive your compensation as a lump sum or in the form of periodic payments. Your solicitor will advise you on the best option for your situation. They can also seek specialist advice and guidance for you that may help you manage your compensation funds effectively.

Getting Help with Your Public Accident Claim

Pursuing a public accident claim can be hard if you’re dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of an injury. That’s why seeking the right support and advice is crucial to ensuring a successful outcome for your claim.

Our team of experienced personal injury solicitors specialise in helping victims like you navigate the complexities. Speaking in layman’s terms, we can ensure that you feel confident in making your claim. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll these accidents can take, and we know your rights. Our team are here to support you every step of the way throughout the process. You can focus on your recovery and day-to-day life, whilst we deal with the claim.

By choosing our services, you’ll benefit from:

  • A free no obligation consultation to discuss your case and understand your legal options.
  • Expert guidance in gathering the necessary evidence and building the strongest possible case.
  • A transparent no win no fee agreement, ensuring you don’t face any financial risk when pursuing your claim.
  • Compassionate and personalised support tailored to your unique circumstances.

Contact us today to take the first step towards recovery and restitution. We’re here to help you turn a challenging and distressing situation into a successful claim. We’ll allow you to focus on what truly matters – your recovery and well-being.

You can start your claim online or , and one of our expert team will be in touch. Alternatively, call us on 01225 430285. We’ll only need a few minutes of your time to let you know if you can make a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

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