Public Liability Claims Guide

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Public Liability Claims

Within this guide, we will discuss the eligibility criteria that all public liability claims must meet in order for them to be valid. Additionally, we will explain the time limits that must be adhered to for personal injury claims being made for accidents in public places.

Additionally, this guide will explore how accidents could occur in public places, and whether they could lead to public liability claims. We will also set out examples of evidence that could be collected to help support your case.

Furthermore, this guide will discuss the different heads of loss that compensation could be awarded under for successful personal injury claims, and how compensation may be calculated. We will also share some of the benefits of working with one of our expert public liability solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you have any specific questions you would like answered, you can get in touch with our advisors.

To connect with them today, you can:

A man sitting on a public pavement with an injured knee.

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When Are You Eligible To Make Public Liability Claims?

Those in control of public spaces, such as supermarkets, leisure centres and restaurants, are referred to as occupiers. They owe you a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. Per their duty, they must take the necessary steps and measures to ensure your reasonable safety while you are visiting that public space. This could include performing regular risk assessments and maintenance checks.

If you have been injured while in public, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. However, all public liability claims must meet the eligibility criteria for personal injury claims. These are:

  • You were owed a duty of care by the occupier of that space.
  • They breached this duty.
  • Due to this, you suffered an injury.

To find out if you could make a public liability claim after suffering an injury while out in public, call our advisors now for a free case assessment.

What Is The Public Liability Claim Time Limit?

According to the Limitation Act 1980, you generally have a 3-year time limit to begin a personal injury claim. This will begin from the date of your accident in a public place.

However, there are certain exceptions. For example, those under the age of 18 cannot make a claim for themself and will, therefore, have the time limit paused until the date of their 18th birthday. A litigation friend could start the claiming process on the injured party’s behalf while the pause is applied. A litigation friend should be someone who will act in the claimant’s best interest, such as a family member or lawyer, for example. If no claim has been started on their behalf prior to their 18th birthday, the injured party will then have 3 years from this date to start their own claim.

Those lacking the mental capacity to start their own legal proceedings will have the limitation period paused indefinitely. During this time, a litigation friend could act on their behalf. If no claim has been made and the injured party regains the required mental capacity, they will have 3 years to start the claiming process from this date of recovery.

To learn more about the time limits that apply to public liability claims, or to receive free advice for your case, you can contact our advisors.

A woman slipping next to a yellow wet floor sign.

Examples Of Negligence That Could Lead To Public Liability Claims

As previously mentioned, to be able to make a personal injury compensation claim for an accident in a public place, you will need to show that your injuries were caused by the occupier of that space breaching their duty of care.

Some examples of how public liability accidents could occur include:

  • While in a shopping centre, you fell down the stairs because a loose handrail gave way. The occupier of the shopping centre was aware of the fault and their failure to fix it caused you to suffer a serious neck injury that caused paralysis.
  • You slipped in a cafe due to a spillage not being signposted or cleaned in a timely manner. This causes you to suffer an ankle injury and wrist injury.
  • While eating at a restaurant, the chair you are sitting on breaks. This causes you to fall to the floor, injuring your back. After investigations were made, it was shown that the restaurant was aware of the defective chair but failed to have it repaired or replaced.

If you have any questions regarding public liability compensation claims or would like to have the eligibility of your own case assessed, you can contact one of our advisors today. Claims made against occupiers would be paid out through their public liability insurance cover. However, it is not a legal requirement for them to carry public liability insurance. Call our advisors for more advice on this.

What Evidence Could Help You Claim For An Accident In A Public Place?

Gathering sufficient evidence is a crucial step in the public liability claims process. This evidence needs to demonstrate the injuries you sustained and who was liable for them. Some examples of the potential evidence you could use to support your personal injury claim include:

  • Medical evidence of your injuries. This could be a copy of your medical records, for example, detailing the injuries you suffered and the treatment you received for them.
  • Contact information of anyone who witnessed your accident, as they could be approached for a statement at a later date about how the accident happened.
  • Photographic evidence to help prove the cause of your accident.
  • CCTV footage of the accident occurring.
  • Photographs of the visible injuries sustained and the accident site.

One of our expert personal injury lawyers could assist you with gathering evidence to support your case. To see if you could be eligible to work with one of them, you can contact a member of our advisory team.

A man sitting on a public path holding his leg due to a knee injury.

How Much Compensation Could Be Received From Public Liability Claims?

Compensation settlements for successful public liability claims will include the head of loss referred to as general damages.

This compensates you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries. Various factors will affect how much compensation you receive under this head of loss. This can include:

  • The type of injury you suffered in the public liability accident.
  • The initial severity of your injuries.
  • How long the injuries take to recover.
  • What treatment the injuries required.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is a document that may be used by those responsible for calculating the general damages head of your claim. The JCG contains guideline compensation brackets for several different injuries, including both psychological and physical injuries.

For the table below, we have used some of these compensation guidelines. Please only refer to this table as a guide. Also, the first entry of this table has not been taken from the JCG.

Compensation Table

Type Of InjurySeverity LevelCompensation Bracket (Guidance)Detailed Notes
Multiple Severe Injuries + Special DamagesSevere Up to £1,000,000 + Compensation to cover physical and psychological suffering linked to multiple severe injuries and special damages to cover the cost of nursing, lost earnings and home adaptations amongst other things.
Brain and Head InjuryVery Severe£282,010 to £403,990 The person will require nursing care full-time, and will demonstrate little meaningful response to their environment, and suffer with little to no language function.
Back InjuriesSevere (i)£91,090 to £160,980A combination of consequences that are serious and not usual to most back injuries due to severe damage to the nerve roots and spinal cord.
Neck InjuriesSevere (i)In the region £148,330 For example, a neck injury causing permanent spastic quadriparesis or results in incomplete paraplegia.
Neck InjuriesModerate (i)£24,990 to £38,490Injuries that may require spinal fusion and result in immediate severe symptoms, such as fractures or dislocations.
Knee InjuriesSevere (i)£69,730 to £96,210Knee injuries that disrupt the joint, lead to the development of osteoarthritis, require lengthy treatment and cause considerable pain and loss of function.
Injuries to The Pelvis and HipsModerate (i)£26,590 to £39,170 Where there is a significant injury to the hips or pelvis. However, any permanent disability won't be major.
Arm InjuriesLess Severe£19,200 to £39,170Despite significant disabilities initially, a substantial degree of recovery will be expected or will have been seen.
Skeletal InjuriesFractures of the Nose or Nasal Complex (i)£10,640 to £23,130Multiple or serious nasal fractures requiring several operations.

Special Damages In A Public Liability Injury Claim

If your public liability claim is a success, your settlement could also include a head of loss called special damages. This compensates you for any costs linked to your injuries.

For example, compensation for special damages in public liability claims could include:

  • Loss of income (including future losses).
  • Rehabilitation or medical expenses.
  • The cost of care and support at home.
  • Medical treatment not available on the NHS.

When claiming these financial losses, you will need to provide as much evidence of them as possible. For example, receipts, wage slips and bank statements could all be useful.

For a free valuation of your public liability injury claim, you can contact a member of our advisory team. If they can see that you have an eligible case, they could connect you to a specialist solicitor who will represent you throughout the personal injury claims process.

Make A No Win No Fee Public Liability Claim

One of our solicitors who has experience working on public liability claims may be able to help you with yours, provided that you meet the relevant eligibility criteria. They could assist you with gathering evidence to support your claim, explain any legal jargon that is used throughout the claiming process and negotiate a compensation settlement on your behalf.

Additionally, they may offer to help you claim compensation for your injuries on a No Win No Fee basis by offering you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Some of the benefits that come with working with a solicitor under this particular No Win No Fee arrangement generally include:

  • An initial upfront payment is not required for your solicitor’s work.
  • You also won’t need to pay your solicitor for their work during the claims process or if the claim is unsuccessful.
  • A success fee will be deducted from your compensation if the claim is a success. The success fee is a small percentage that is limited by the law.

A solictor and client sat across a desk discussing the public liability claims process.

Contact Our Advisors

To check if one of our expert solicitors could help you make a public liability claim on a No Win No Fee basis, you can contact our team of advisors. They are available 24 hours a day to offer you free advice on your case. They can also help answer any additional questions you may have regarding public liability claims.

To speak with one of them today, you can:

Read More About Making A Public Liability Compensation Claim

Here are a few more of our personal injury claims guides which might be helpful:

Finally, we’ve linked to some external resources that might also help:

If you have any further questions regarding the public liability claims process, you can contact one of our friendly advisors. They could even connect you to public liability lawyers who could take on your case with no upfront legal costs.

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