Public liability claims

Most public liability injury claims can be dealt with on a no win no fee basis

What is a Public Liability Claim?

A public liability claim is a type of personal injury claim for compensation. If you have been injured in a public place through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to make a public liability claim for personal injury compensation. This would enable you to claim compensation for physical and/or psychological injuries, medical treatment, rehabilitation, lost earnings and related expenses such as travel to medical appointments.

Public place accidents

Throughout the course of your day, you can visit numerous ‘public places’ such as walking down the street, going for a haircut or visiting a tourist attraction.

These are all public places, and you have a right to enjoy them without the risk of being injured. In order to achieve this, the person, business or organisation responsible for the area must take reasonable steps to ensure the public’s safety.

If you suffer a personal injury in an accident, it may mean that whoever is responsible (liable) for that public place has failed to meet their duty to protect you. Exactly who should be held accountable for this will depend on the public place where the accident occurred.

For example let’s say that:

  • you walked down the street and tripped over a raised paving slab – then the Local Authority/Council could be at fault, as they are responsible for maintaining highways
  • you had your hair cut and suffered burns from the hair dye – then the hairdressers could be liable
  • you went to a restaurant and the waiter/waitress spilled hot coffee, causing you to suffer scalds – then the restaurant owners would probably be responsible
  • you went to a fairground and were involved an accident on a fairground ride – then the owners or organisers of the fairground would probably be at fault

These are just a few ways in which a public place accident can happen.

The most common public liability accidents occur at: - Leisure centres (including gyms, sporting venues and football clubs) - Bus and train stations, - Cafes, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants - Schools and other educational institutions - Beauticians, therapy clinics, tattoo parlours and hairdressers - Supermarkets and shops - Public transportation, such as buses, trains and aeroplanes

Public liability accidents can also involve animals, such as horse riding accidents and dog bites.

Personal injuries can also be caused by falling objects, exposure to hazardous substances, animal attacks, slips, trips and falls, potholes, poor maintenance and misplaced objects, to name but a few. These can all be the subject of public liability claims.

What to if you're injured in a public place accident

If you or your child has been injured in a public place accident (such as at school, nurser or a playground) you should record the details of the accident and the injuries as soon as possible. Take photos especially of the area where the incident took place. If you tripped over a protruding paving stone or stumbled in a pothole, take measurements of the height of the trip or the depth of the pothole. Make a note of what happened, the time, and if there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact details.

Also ask if the organisation responsible for the area has an Accident Book. This is something that all businesses should have including offices, hospitals, shopping centres, restaurants and tourist attractions. If so, be sure that the incident is recorded in the Accident Book.

You should then speak with a Personal Injury Solicitor to get legal advice and to see if you have been wrongfully injured. If so, you will be entitled to pursue a claim against those at fault. This is known as making a public liability claim.

Making a public liability claim

When making a public liability accident compensation claim your Personal Injury Solicitor will need to establish that:

  • those responsible for the public place failed to take reasonable steps to protect your health and safety
  • this failure caused you to suffer injuries that you would not have otherwise suffered

If your Personal Injury Solicitor can then prove these things, it’s likely that you would be awarded compensation that reflects the injuries you have wrongfully experienced.

Compensation can be awarded for:

  • your physical and/or psychological pain and suffering
  • your financial losses and expenses

The amount of compensation you are entitled to receive for your pain and suffering will depend on the injuries you have suffered. These can vary in severity, but sometimes can involve life-changing injuries such as brain damage or amputation.

The amount of compensation you are entitled to receive for your financial losses intends to put you back in the financial position you would be in, had the accident not happened. If your ability to work has been affected by your injuries, your compensation settlement will reflect this.

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, and we will always strive to secure the best possible compensation and rehabilitation support for our clients.