What is public liability?
Public liability is the duty of care a person or company owning or being responsible for a public area has to ensure it is safe for public use. Businesses usually take out a public liability insurance policy which is intended to compensate members of the public who become injured on their premises/public areas due to their fault.
What is a public liability claim?
A public liability claim allows a member of the public to bring a claim following an accident or incident where they have suffered a personal injury on public property. The claim is initially presented to the business but more often than not your claim is dealt with on the public liability policy of the owner.
What types of accidents or injuries can I make a public liability claim for?
There are numerous types of accidents or injuries that could lead to a public liability claim. Some of these are listed below:
- Slips, trips and falls caused by dangerous footpaths and pavements, untreated icy/slippery surfaces in winter weather, potholes etc.
- These accidents/incidents could have taken place inside shopping centres, supermarkets, schools or car parks. They could even be on defective stairwells/staircases or perhaps caused on the street by protruding tree roots or uneven pavements
- Injury from objects, for example, falling from a height or caused by sharp objects that should have been covered and made safe
- Obstructions on the road, pedestrian footpaths or trip hazards.
- This list is comprehensive but not exhaustive and we would be happy to have a chat with you at no cost to you to advise whether you may have a claim.
Can I make a public liability claim?
If you have had an accident or have suffered a personal injury while on public property, then yes, you may be entitled to make a public liability claim.
There are numerous circumstances where you could be in the unfortunate position of being injured while you are on public property. Our personal injury solicitors will be happy to chat with you to advise whether you’re eligible to make a public liability claim.
The owner of the place where I was injured doesn’t have public liability insurance – can I still make a personal injury claim?
Yes. Unfortunately, Public liability insurance isn’t yet compulsory under UK law, so in some circumstances, this does happen. If this is the case, you can still make a public liability claim, but any compensation awarded to you would be recovered directly from the party at fault. This can mean recovery of your damages can be more difficult if the owner liquidated the business or doesn’t have the money to pay your damages but we can chat to you about that and deal with any concerns with you.
What needs to happen to help me win my case?
To make a successful public liability compensation claim, you will need to prove that another party was responsible for your accident and your subsequent injury (in PL cases, the owner of the property/area where your accident happened).
To help strengthen your case, you should:
- Report the accident to the staff immediately responsible or the owner at the time.
- Make a note of your accident in the accident book.
- Make sure any accident book entry accurately reflects what happened.
- Sign the book immediately under the agreed entry if possible.
- Take names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.
- Take photographs of the area where the accident happened.
- In cases involving badly maintained pavements, it would be advisable to put a ruler or a coin (a 10p or 50p piece is usually best) standing upright beside the trip hazard/hole/lump before you take the photograph to give an idea of depth/height.
- Potholes can be notoriously difficult to measure and any court will need to see any alleged defect properly measured with a ruler or measuring tape. You will need to measure both the depth and width of any pothole. If you don’t have a tape/ruler and you cannot return later to the pothole then place an object in the hole (upright and laid flat) that will give some perspective to the width and depth e.g. a mobile phone or a bank/membership type card.
- Try to measure the lowest depth point of the hole and the highest.
- Placing a flat object across the top of the hole will help show that the hole has been correctly measured.
- Take lots of photographs from varying distances but remember any photographs that we use to help your case need to be clear and not blurry.
- Finally, take a picture of the defect that shows where it is in relation to the area. If we can identify the pothole for the local authority then their investigation will be much quicker.
If you are intending to claim expenses as part of your public liability compensation claim, such as prescription costs and travelling expenses for treatment, remember to keep receipts as evidence.
If you don’t have everything listed above please don’t worry, we can still investigate the public liability claim and who may be at fault for causing your injury.
How long do I have to make a Public Liability claim?
If you were over the age of 18 when the accident happened then the standard time limit for starting a workplace accident claim is three years from the date you were injured. Different rules apply if you were under the age of 18 when your accident happened and we can advise you as far as this is concerned in our initial conversation.
There are only very limited exceptions to these time limits, so please be sure to get in touch with us as soon as possible, so that we can begin investigating whether you can make a public liability compensation claim.
How do I pay for my public liability claim?
The vast majority of the Public Liability claims we handle within PLS are on a no win no fee basis. We will provide you with full details of the no-win no-fee scheme that we operate in our initial conversation with you.
If you win your case, your opponent will pay most of your legal fees, with a contribution to the remainder (up to a capped maximum limit) coming out of your compensation award. We’ll keep you fully updated throughout your claim, so you know how much compensation you are likely to receive.
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