What to Do If You're Injured in a Public Place
16 August 2018
If you have an accident and are injured in a public place through no fault of your own, you may wish to make a personal injury claim. If so, you need to collect evidence that will help to prove that your accident was caused because of the fault of someone else and you should contact a Personal Injury Solicitor who specialises in Public Liability Claims. Also see, Top Tips on What to Do below.
Top Tips on What to Do If You're Injured in a Public Place
1. Take photographs of the scene of the accident
As long as you do not need immediate medical attention, then, if you are able to do so safely, your first step should be to take photographs of the area where the accident took place. This should show exactly what the area looked like when the accident happened.
It can be useful to include another object in the photo for the sake of comparison. For instance, if you have tripped over a raised paving slab, use a ruler to show how far the paving slab is elevated. You can also take pictures of the damage done to you and your personal possessions.
2. Get the names and contact details of any witnesses
If there were any witnesses to the accident which resulted in your injuries, be sure to get their names and contact details. Statements from witnesses can really help to corroborate your case.
3. Record the accident in the accident book
Some businesses and organisations will have an accident book, which is used to record all the accidents that happen on the premises for example if you've slipped in a supermarket. Check whether this is the case and, if an accident book does exist, ask for the incident to be recorded.
4. Seek medical attention for your injuries
If you have not already done so at this stage, seek medical attention. Sometimes shock can mask the true extent of injuries, and you may require more treatment and rehabilitation that you initially thought.
Attending a medical practitioner will also verify that your injury occurred, as there will be an entry in your medical records stating as much. This is another piece of evidence that can be used during the course of a claim.
5. Write down exactly what happened
If you do make a claim then in certain circumstances you will need to provide a witness statement describing the accident in detail. Many months may have passed by this point, and it's amazing how quickly we can forget things, particularly traumatic events.
So it's best to write down everything you can remember about the accident as soon as you can. Include as many details as possible, such as where the accident took place, what caused the accident, who saw the accident, if relevant, the weather conditions, the time of day, and even what you were wearing including your shoes. This can all be valuable information later down the line.
6. Contact a Specialist Personal Injury Solicitor
Compensation claims made for accidents in public places are called Public Liability Claims, it's best to contact a Personal Injury Solicitor which specialises in Public Liability claims, and may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. During an initial consultation, you may be able to establish whether or not you have the grounds to pursue a Public Liability claim.
It's important not to hesitate when seeking expert legal advice, as Public Liability claims are subject to strict time limits. If you exceed the time limit, you will not be able to claim compensation, even if you have a very strong case.
7. Keep all receipts and record your losses
During the course of your claim, your Personal Injury Solicitor will need to calculate the amount of compensation you should receive for 'Special Damages', which is the money you have lost or expenses you have incurred as a result of your injuries, such as wages, salary and out-of-pocket expenses. It will make their job easier if you have kept a record of all your financial losses and any receipts relating to your expenditure. This might include taxis to and from medical appointments, specialist equipment and medication.
It is part of the Co-op's ethos and values to provide help and support in enforcing legal rights so as to prevent injustice. At Co-op Legal Services we will always strive to secure the best possible compensation and rehabilitation support for our clients.
At Co-op Legal Services most Public Liability injury claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.
Public Liability Claims – More Information
In England and Wales, if members of the public are legally permitted to access a place or premises, then it must be kept reasonably safe. This might include, for example, leisure centres, shops, offices, libraries, car parks, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, theme parks etc.
Responsibility for keeping the area reasonably safe falls to either the owner or the occupier of the premises. If an owner or occupier fails to adhere to this duty and a member of the public is injured as a result, there can be grounds for a Public Liability claim.
In addition, if your accident has happened because of a defect in the highway (which covers roads and pavements) such as a pothole or uneven flagstone, then this will be a Public Liability claim. If the highway authority has not complied with their legal obligations to keep the highway safe, you may be able to claim compensation for the injuries you have suffered as a result.