Employers’ Liability Claims vs Public Liability Claims Explained

20 January 2021

Employers’ liability claims and public liability claims are both types of personal injury claim, however there’s a big difference between them:

  • Employers’ Liability Claims are for employees who are either injured in accidents at work, or whose health has deteriorated because of poor working practices
  • Public Liability Claims are for people injured in accidents in a public place (such as falls or trips in a shopping mall, restaurant or other public space).

At Co-op Legal Services most employers’ liability claims and public liability accident claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.

Employers’ liability claims

An employers’ liability claim can be for injuries suffered when poor working practices are allowed to continue. This type of claim is sometimes also known as a work accident claim. Work accidents can happen when an employee is injured as a result of their employers’ negligence, or the negligence of another person. The injured worker may be entitled to claim compensation for their personal injuries and lost earnings (as well as any other financial losses).

Employers' duty of care

Employers’ liability claims often occur when an employer breaches their ‘duty of care’. All employers owe their staff a duty of care, which means they have a legal obligation to create a safe working environment. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including:

  • Implementing health and safety regulations
  • Providing the correct training
  • Providing the correct protective equipment and clothing
  • Monitoring and supervising employees
  • Ensuring machinery and equipment is safe
  • Carrying out risk assessments
  • Taking action if an employee is negligent.

When an employer fails to “take reasonable steps” to ensure a safe working environment and an employee is injured as a result, that employee has a legal right to make a claim for compensation.

In almost all cases the compensation is paid out by the employers’ liability insurance provider and not by the employer.

Some of the most common types of accidents at work involve:

If you have been injured in an accident at work or by a failure of the employer to ensure a safe working environment, our Personal Injury Solicitors can tell you if can make an employers’ liability claim, and if your claim can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.

Public Liability Claims

A public liability claim is a claim usually made by a member of the public against either a person, a company or a local authority, after they have been injured in an accident. The accident will have happened somewhere that is open to the public, such as a restaurant, shop, train station, gymnasium etc.

The most common types of public liability claims involve slips, trips and falls.

Any place that is going to be used by members of the general public must be maintained to a safe standard. The question of who is responsible for this depends on the place. For example, Local Authorities are generally responsible for maintaining highways, pavements and parks. Businesses are responsible for the safety of any visitors to their premises.

It doesn’t really matter where you are. If you are permitted to be there as a member of the public, then the business, organisation or public body that oversees that area has a duty of care to you. This means reasonable steps should be taken to safeguard your health.

If someone does get injured in a public place because a reasonable level of safety hasn't been met, there could be grounds for a public liability claim. Public liability claims can be made as a result of:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals or materials
  • Accidents in playgrounds or at school
  • Falling objects
  • Horse-riding accidents
  • Faulty equipment
  • Burns or scalds

If you have been injured in an accident in a public place, our Personal Injury Solicitors can tell you if can make a public liability claim, and if your claim can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.

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