A public liability claim is a claim for an accident that’s happened on property that’s open to the public. This includes places that are owned or maintained by a local authority, but also private businesses that are open to the public such as museums, bars, gyms or restaurants. The people responsible for the upkeep of these premises have a duty of care to the people on their property. Usually, people who have buildings that are open to the public have public liability insurance, although it isn’t compulsory. This means that in the event someone had an accident on their property and wanted to make a claim, the public liability insurance would pay the compensation.
There are many different examples of public liability claims but the most common cases are:
- Disrepair – Faulty lights, lifts, electronics, uneven flooring. These can all cause serious accidents.
- Slips or trips – If there has been a spill and nobody puts up hazard signs or cleans it up, then the property owner could be held responsible for the accident.
- Falling objects – Proper health and safety guidelines should be adhered to to prevent a broken tool, fitting or incorrectly stacked object falling and hitting someone.
Injuries Should Be Taken Seriously
Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes an accident is no one else’s fault but our own. If we simply weren’t looking where we were going or were very drunk then this is unlikely to be a public liability issue. In order to make a claim we must be able to prove negligence. An accident can cause us just a few bruises and make us feel silly, but it can also cause more serious issues like spinal injury, head damage, or broken bones. The compensation from a public liability claim will usually be weighted on the severity of the injury.
In the UK, slips and falls are the most common cause of injury related death in people over 75. (NHS) Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. (Mayo Clinic) If you have been in an accident which has left you injured and it wasn’t your fault, you should not blame yourself.
Report Your Accident
After you’ve had an accident it is good to report it to the council, or manager of the public property. Your report should be recorded and the person responsible should take action to prevent the accident from happening to anyone else.
Recording the Accident
If you have suffered an accident, you should record the exact time and place it happened. It’s also useful to have photographs of the scene of the accident and whatever caused it, such as a broken pavement. If there were any witnesses present, then it’s helpful to get their details. This will help strengthen your case if you decide to make a claim.
Calling a Solicitor
You can call us for friendly, confidential advice on 0114 267 8780 from 8am – 9pm. If you wish, we can send a solicitor for a home visit with you immediately. You may be able to make a claim up to 3 years after the accident took place. This time limit begins on your 18th birthday, so if the accident happened before you were 18, you can claim up until the age of 21.
Trip in Debenhams: A lady in Sheffield contacted ASD after she had tripped over a disguised step at Debenhams on The Moor. She sustained a serious shoulder injury which resulted in surgery and will unfortunately leave her in permanent pain. With the help of one of our Solicitors Chris Chappell, Debenhams were forced to concede that they had not taken any measures to raise awareness of the hidden step even though it was their responsibility to do so. The claim was dealt with on a no win, no fee basis and the client was awarded £50,000 in compensation.
Pavement grate injury: Mrs F sustained a serious foot fracture after she stepped into a defective inspection grate in the pavement. She was left housebound for months. Both Yorkshire Water and Sheffield City council denied responsibility and so proceedings had to be issued against them both. ASD would not relent and took both parties to court. It was only on the morning of the trial outside the court door that both parties gave way and gave Mrs F £10,000 each, resulting in £20,000 compensation for her.