How To Claim Compensation For An Injury In A Public Place

What can you do if you’re the victim of an accident in a public place caused by negligence? In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about making a public liability claim and tell you how our panel of personal injury lawyers can help. 

If you’ve never used a solicitor before, we aim to explain any doubts or concerns you may have about making a claim, such as:

  • Will it cost me anything?
  • What happens if I lose the case?
  • Are solicitors expensive?
  • How do I prove what happened to me?
  • Who is to blame for an accident in a public place?

Making a claim for compensation is easier than you might think. Below, we’ll guide you through the process. We also examine duty of care. We look at why it’s important and what laws support us when we’re out and about. 

Our personal injury claims calculator section explains the importance of properly valuing your claim using all the facts. In conclusion, we show you where to find the best No Win No Fee lawyers to handle your case, starting with our service.

Our friendly team is available 24/7 to take your call on 0800 408 7825. Alternatively, you can write to us at How To Claim where we will be happy to advise. You may be eligible to start a public liability claim and win damages today.

Select a Section

  1. A Guide To Claiming Compensation For An Injury In A Public Place
  2. What Is An Injury In A Public Place?
  3. Public Place Injury Statistics UK
  4. Common Claims For Injuries In Public Places
  5. What Is Public Liability?
  6. Steps To Take Toward Making A Public Liability A Claim
  7. Public Liability Compensation Calculator
  8. How To Make A No Win No Fee Public Liability Claim
  9. Finding A Helpful Solicitor For You
  10. Discuss Your Claim
  11. Quick References

A Guide To Claiming Compensation For An Injury In A Public Place

Obviously, starting a negligence case against another party is serious. As a result, many people shrug off injuries caused by faulty premises or services and get on with life as best they can.

Accidents in public can result in costing you time and money in addition to the pain and distress. The costs of paying for someone to help you as you recover can be very high (please see link at the bottom) and the repercussions of an injury can greatly damage your finances. A claim against those in control of the space where you injured yourself can take care of this.

public liability claim
Public liability claim

It should be noted that there are three points that need to be established when it comes to making a successful negligence claim:

  • Who had the legal duty of care to me?
  • How was it breached?
  • Did that breach result in my injuries?

If you can prove these points, a No Win No Fee lawyer could support your claim. Having that expertise on your side can be greatly beneficial, allowing you to potentially maximize the final payout you could receive.

What Is An Injury In A Public Place?

Almost anywhere that is accessible to the general public is covered by The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. The Act states that those in control of these spaces need to ensure it as safe as possible, for instance:

  • Pavements and walkways
  • Public municipal buildings
  • Parks and common grounds
  • Leisure centres, schools, and libraries
  • Shopping arcades and retail parks
  • Restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs
  • In addition to this, any area privately operated with agreed access to the public

Standards of safety are expected in all these places to avoid unnecessary hazards to you. Therefore, if you suffered an injury because of something that could have been avoided in these locations, speak to our team for advice about filing a claim. 

What sort of accidents are we talking about in public places? Some examples:

  • Tripping or slipping on wet surfaces or obstacles
  • Falling down unmarked stairs
  • Poorly lit areas 
  • Injuring yourself while using badly maintained facilities

As a consequence of a breach in the duty of care, you could suffer injuries in any of the above places in these and many other ways. Perhaps the circumstances around your injuries were more complicated. When you speak to a No Win No Fee personal injury lawyer from our panel you can explain exactly what happened and why you believe someone else was to blame.

They will listen to every detail of your claim and advise whether or not they can help pursue potential damages from the defendant.

Public Place Injury Statistics UK

Undoubtedly, most companies and private operators try their best to create safe environments for us to use. However, avoidable accidents do happen because of lapses in care. If the duty of care is not adhered to or is breached, sadly it’s possible for an accident to happen anywhere.

The government produces statistics each year to demonstrate the prevalence and type of accidents, mainly focusing on accidents at work. You can read this link for an overview. 

It should be noted that many people may disregard their accident as clumsiness on their part and don’t bother with a public liability claim.

For instance, you might slip on a wet floor in a shopping mall, fall badly, and shatter your knee. Was the area clearly marked? Did the staff do everything to avoid hazards? A shattered knee can happen in under a minute yet require months of recovery. As you heal you may not be able to work or earn money. Who pays for all this damage?

Before you accept what happened that day as bad luck, it’s important to consider carefully if everything had been done on the part of the organisation in control of the space to provide the best level of safety possible. As a consequence of their breach of duty of care, you could suffer real, lasting harm.

Common Claims For Injuries In Public Places

First and foremost, no two claims are the same. Many online websites try to provide instant compensation amounts but they often miss the subtle points of each case. There are no ‘one size fits all’ compensation awards and damages are never guaranteed. Each case is assessed individually, but it costs nothing to call and enquire.

Only when you speak directly to a personal injury lawyer is it possible to value your claim properly. For instance, your lawyer will advise on a medical assessment. This gives you the chance to have your injuries proven as fact. As a result, your lawyer can pursue your claim with solid evidence that you suffered because of the negligence of others.

Typical scenarios of negligence in public places can include:

  • Lack of signage or warnings
  • Unsupervised maintenance
  • Damaged or disrepaired facilities
  • Broken pavements and public street furniture
  • Unattended risk areas
  • Hazardous litter
  • Dangerous scaffolding
  • Exposed glass or sharp edges

These events could all cause injury. Everything from a minor cut to a serious bodily injury. The Occupiers Liability Act is very clear in its expectations from local authorities and private operators to provide avoidance of these risks.

If you fell victim to negligence, you have a legal right to start a public liability claim. Therefore, if the defendant failed to do something to uphold this legal responsibility, and you suffered an injury, you could sue them. Speak to our team for more information.

What Is Public Liability?

Our panel specializes in three main areas of liability:

  • Accidents in the workplace (Employers liability)
  • Accidents in public places (Public liability)
  • Road traffic accidents (RTA’s)

Briefly, there are laws that seek to protect our safety in these three areas of normal daily life: the workplace, in public, and on the roads. The Health And Safety At Work etc Act 1974 expects employers to provide a safe place for their employees so far as reasonably possible. To do this, they can implement things such as:

  • Proper staff training,
  • Conducting regular risk assessment and acting upon findings
  • Supplying adequate personal protective equipment (PPE_
  • Proper onsite maintenance to ensure every employee is as safe at work as possible.

Statistics illustrate that during 2019/2020 over 690,000 people reported an injury at work, so with the best will in the world, accidents are still happening as a regular event. Many of them may have been due to negligence.

The Highway Code asks for a similar awareness of the duty of care when driving. Briefly, the Code asks that all drivers show diligence and care and drive on the understanding that not every motorist can or will demonstrate this. Reckless driving, driving whilst intoxicated, and looking at mobile phones are all breaches of duty of care. You can sue other motorists for damages if they harm you.

Public Liability as described by The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 is a detailed and exhaustive set of rules and to summarise, they expect all local authorities and private operators to demonstrate care to everyone that may use their land or spaces.

This means that citizens are entitled to expect that operators are concerned about their safety and must do what they can to protect it. Most bodies in control of public spaces carry public liability insurance. However, it isn’t a legal requirement, and the absence of such insurance may make the claims process a little trickier. We can help you regardless. Simply get in touch with our team to find out more.

Steps To Take Toward Making A Public Liability A Claim

Importantly, the onus is on the organisation in control of the space to keep it safe. Once you have decided that you suffered injuries from an accident that could have been avoided, there are several stages to your public liability claim:

Receive Treatment For Injuries

Obviously, the most important thing to do is receive treatment for your injuries. The operators of the place where you were injured should call emergency services if necessary. It’s important to remember that hospital medical notes are useful evidence and can be used by your No Win No Fee lawyer as evidence in your case. 

Gather Witness Contact Details

Understandably, this may not be an immediate priority if you are injured and in pain. However, if you or someone with you can have the presence of mind to ask bystanders what they saw, this can also form valuable evidence. Most areas are monitored by CCTV these days so you are legally entitled to request video footage if you think it will validate your claim.

Report An Accident In A Public Place.

Obviously, it may not be immediately clear in a public place who is responsible for the area where your accident happened. Workplace injuries have their own dedicated format for the proper reporting of accidents, as well as under RIDDOR, and you can report workplace accidents there.

But in public places, you may need to ask or research the correct person to report your injuries too. As mentioned above, the emergency services who attend you and the A&E ward at the hospital will have a record of what happened to you in more serious incidents. In less serious cases, it might be worth visiting your GP or local walk-in centre for medical help and advice.

Record Financial Loss

As a consequence of your accident, you may find financial costs mounting as you try to cope with normal daily demands. Costs such as loss of earnings and travel to the hospital all add up. In the aftermath of a serious injury, there are many hidden expenses that will need to be met by you in the immediate aftermath, as well as possibly the long-term future.

A No Win No Fee lawyer will advise on how to properly record and track these expenses and incorporate them as part of your claim. Solid records of costs prove the financial damage the negligence caused you and gives you the best chance of winning them back from the defendant.

Public Liability Compensation Calculator

As discussed, it gives your public liability claim a much greater chance of success to speak to a skilled personal injury lawyer rather than rely on online personal injury claims calculators. When you hire a lawyer to represent your negligence case, they will proceed in the following way:

Calculating General Damages With A Personal Injury Claim Calculator

Briefly, your No Win No Fee lawyer will calculate compensation under two types of damages – general damages and special damages. In this part, we’ll consider general damages which relate to the pain and suffering the injuries have caused.

As part of the claims process, your lawyer will arrange for you to be examined by an independent medical expert. With the results from your medical assessment, they will first refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

This body provides suggested award amounts to take the pain and suffering of your injuries into account. The JCG lists a whole array of injury types with award brackets that allow your solicitors to aim for the highest appropriate amount on your behalf.

Given the wide array of potential injuries, our table below shows just a possible suggested award for a moderate injury to the knee from slipping in a public place.

Injury Award
Back - minorUp to £2,300
Neck - minor£4,080 to £7,410
Arm - moderate£6,190 to £18,020
Shoulder - moderate£7,410 to £11,980
Ankle - very severe£46,980 to £65,420
Elbow - severe£36,770 to £51,460

Your personal circumstances may attract higher damages. Therefore, it’s important to speak to a No Win No Fee lawyer directly to take every detail into account.

Special Damages

Special damages seek to restore your finances to where they were before the accident and injuries. As the second component of your compensation settlement amount, any cost that you can prove was incurred through what happened could be included. For instance:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Damage to future earnings or work opportunities
  • Travel costs to the hospital
  • Physiotherapy or counselling expenses
  • Care costs for any person who needed to look after you
  • Personal property damage during the accident – clothing, mobile phone, spectacles
  • Any damage to pensions or lost deposits.

To summarise, any cost that you can prove you incurred while trying to deal with your injuries could be included under special damages. Receipts and records are essential and when you give them to your lawyers, they can incorporate them into your claim.

If your accident caused you to incur expenses or financial damage and you’re not sure if they could be included, speak to our team to find out more.

How To Make A No Win No Fee Public Liability Claim

It should be noted that you can start a negligence claim independently as well as using No Win No Fee arrangements. Over recent years there has been a great deal of interest in No Win No Fee or Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) and you may be familiar with the term even if you have never used a solicitor in this way. 

So what are the benefits of using No Win No Fee agreements and how could it help you?

  • There are no upfront fees to pay your lawyers
  • As your case proceeds, there are no costs to pay
  • You pay nothing to your lawyer if the case fails
  • If your case wins there is a small, capped fee to pay to your lawyers
  • This fee is capped by law to keep it low and ensure you receive the bulk of the compensation
  • The fee is only payable after you have received compensation
  • Throughout the case, you will receive expert legal advice and support.

To sum up, No Win No Fee arrangements can offer you the speed and financial freedom to seek the compensation you may be owed. There is a three-year time limit to launching a public liability claim, which runs from the date of the accident, so it’s important to act today.

Finding A Helpful Solicitor For You

Once you’ve decided to start a negligence case against a private operator or local authority, what do you do next? There are several options, for instance:

  • You can go to the local law firm in the high street to you, but they may lack the expertise required for your case
  • Google searches are available but will generate thousands of results for No Win No Fee lawyers
  • Online reviews could assist in your decision on which company to use, but how can you trust them?
  • Word of mouth recommendations

Or you can speak to us. We can connect you to our panel of expert lawyers who handle cases remotely for people like you all across the UK. When you speak to our team they can assess the eligibility of your case in a short chat on the phone. If we can help, you could benefit from the collective expertise of our specialist personal injury lawyers.

Discuss Your Claim

How to proceed with your Public Liability Claim with us today

To conclude, if you feel ready to start a negligence case against a private operator or local authority for an accident that caused you injury, or you just require more information, you can get in touch in the following ways:

We hope that this article has helped in your decision to start a case. If there are any aspects of the subjects we’ve discussed and you would like further information, please feel free to get in touch.

Quick References For Public Liability Claims

In addition to all the highlighted links in this article, you can click on the links below for further information about some of the topics we have discussed.

For further reading on how to be safe in public areas, particularly with small children, please read here

For more information about using the NHS services properly during the Covid-19 pandemic, please read here

Please read here for more information about paying for self-care if you require someone to visit your home and help you clean, wash, cook, and attend to personal care.

To find out how to claim compensation for an accident at work, click here.

Or head here to learn how to claim compensation from the council

And we also have a guide here on how to claim compensation for an allergic reaction here

Thank you for reading our guide to public liability claims. 


Guide by FE

Edited by RN