How To Claim Compensation From The Council

Have you ever thought about how to claim compensation from the council? You may have been involved in an accident caused by their negligence and you suffered injuries as a consequence. In this article, we discuss how our panel of lawyers could support your case, value it and help you understand how to claim compensation from the council.

claim compensation from the council
Claim compensation from the council

Starting a negligence case against the local authority might seem off-putting or too much hassle. You might have questions and reservations like:

  • How do I hire a personal injury lawyer to represent me?
  • Will it be expensive and time-consuming?
  • How can I prove what happened?
  • What could I hope to win in compensation?

Using our expertise, our panel of lawyers’ past experience and links to other government websites to explain, we hope to demonstrate how our panel of lawyers can do the following to help you:

  • Give proper legal advice
  • Explain what evidence is required
  • Value your claim properly
  • Calculate compensation accurately on your behalf
  • Present your case and give it the best chance of success

Whilst reading this article we encourage you to get in touch with our team. They’re available 24/7 to discuss your case. You can call us directly at 0800 408 7825 or write to us at How To Claim. All calls are confidential with no-obligation to proceed.

Select a Section

  1. A Guide To How To Claim Compensation From The Council
  2. What Is Public Liability?
  3. Council Negligence Statistics In The UK
  4. Does The Council Owe A Duty Of Care?
  5. Top 5 Most Common Council Accidents
  6. How Long Do I Have To Make A Personal Injury Claim?
  7. Council Compensation Claim Calculator
  8. No Win No Fee Agreements
  9. Finding An Appropriate Solicitor For You
  10. Contact Us Today To Claim Compensation From The Council
  11. Essential Links

A Guide To How To Claim Compensation From The Council

Firstly, it’s important to ask three questions at the beginning of your decision to try and claim compensation from the council.

  • Who had the legal duty of care to ensure my safety?
  • How was it breached?
  • Did I suffer injuries as a consequence?

If you can prove all of these points, you could be able to successfully prove negligence. Our guide can help you establish this. We look at the duty of care of councils to protect your safety as much as is reasonably practical whilst using any area they control. What are those areas?

  • Streets, pavements, and roads
  • Parks, beaches, woodland
  • Municipal and public buildings
  • Any leisure centre or library they operate
  • Schools and housing
  • Transport (unless privately operated)
  • Scaffolding on the street
  • Refuse, waste and public hazards

Perhaps you suffered an accident in one of these areas and were hurt? Did that accident happen due to a breach in their duty of care? Further in the article, we look at specific types of accident hot spots and the injuries they can cause.

We explain how a lawyer could help you build a case against a negligent local authority.  And we discuss how your claim could be valued, what evidence you might need, and how a personal injury lawyer could really increase your final settlement amount.

In conclusion, we show you how to get in touch with our team who can connect you with our specialist panel of personal injury lawyers, who could handle your case.

What Is Public Liability?

Briefly, public liability is a type of claim relating to harm suffered when on spaces accessible to the public. Claims can be brought by third parties such as customers, clients, vendors, passersby and other members of the public.

To claim compensation from the council you need to show how they failed in their duty of care. The law that seeks to protect us in public places is The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 which applies a duty of care to all local authorities and private operators. Therefore:

  • They should show a common duty of care to all visitors unless agreed otherwise
  • To see that the visitor is reasonably safe using the premises 
  • Be prepared that children might be less careful than adults
  • Expect users to take reasonable care of themselves
  • Ensure facilities are fit for use
  • Occupier’s responsibility does not include misuse of premises by visitors

Public liability is detailed with quite complex provisions. The spirit of the legislation asks that everyone is doing as much as they can and should to ensure each other’s safety. When this duty is neglected, impaired, or breached, accidents can happen.

If you experienced an accident in any of the areas above and suffered an injury, you could have a claim against the council. If your accident happened in a place and you are not sure who has responsibility, speak to our team for advice.

Council Negligence Statistics In The UK

Statistics from the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) show that in recent years public liability claims, in general, are decreasing, yet the numbers remain significant:


Statistics that relate specifically to claims against local authorities are harder to obtain. However, public liability applies to every council and if you believe that you suffered injuries as a result of them breaching their duty of care, speak to our team for guidance about your options.

You could be owed damages and there is a three-year time limit to claim compensation from the council, which runs from the date of the accident. We help you to act today to start a claim.

Does The Council Owe A Duty Of Care?

Yes. Councils owe a duty of care to the public, their residents, and anyone who uses facilities or areas they control. As we mentioned above, it is hoped that people will be as careful as possible and only use facilities in the way they were intended. But with the best will in the world, unless the council are upholding their part, injury can result.

We know that children are perhaps more accident-prone and by and large parents take responsibility as much as they can in parks, playgrounds, schools, libraries, and beaches. But few could foresee uncollected glass in a sandpit or a damaged slide at the playground. The expectation is that public facilities will be safe to use.

If you experienced injury from a dangerous public hazard or were harmed when using something that was not maintained properly, you could claim. Duty of care is an important factor in running a safe society and the Council and local authorities play an integral part in this.

When you claim compensation from the council for injuries caused by negligence, you are not just seeking damages for yourself. You are highlighting risks that other people should be protected from as well. Each claim could be making our shared environment a little bit safer for everyone.

Top 5 Most Common Council Accidents

It can be really useful to collect evidence from the place you had your accident. This can be in the form of:

  • Photographs on your phone
  • Requesting CCTV footage of the street or from the premises in question
  • Witness statements
  • A&E medical notes, or notes from your GP or walk-in centre

With this in mind, what are the most common types of accidents that the council could be responsible for?

Pavement Accidents – Claim Compensation From The Council

We’ve all tripped and stumbled on broken pavement slabs or uneven surfaces. The council has a responsibility to ensure that pavements are as free from hazards as possible. 

Elderly people, in particular, are at risk of not being able to notice broken slabs or unstable surfaces and can suffer really nasty falls as a result. A trip or stumble can shatter a hip or fracture a wrist and entail months of painful recovery and protracted, expensive inconvenience.

Highway Accidents

As a driver, you have a right to expect the roads on which you use your vehicle to be safe. Council responsibility includes making sure that surfaces are even and free of potholes, and that tree roots have not broken the tarmac and put you at risk. 

Likewise, the roads should be clear of hazards like uncollected refuse or unattended road works. This link offers more guidance.

Pothole Accidents

Hitting a pothole in the road can do more than just jar your suspension. At the right speed, it could result in a serious neck or back injury by knocking vertebra out of alignment or causing a whiplash injury. 

A head injury could also result. The weight of traffic on modern British roads might suggest it’s impossible to keep the surface smooth and perfect for everyone. However, local authorities levy money to attend to these civic improvements. If they cause injury by failing to do repairs, you could claim compensation from the council for pothole damage.

Leisure Centre and Library Incidents

Swimming pools, leisure centres, parks, playgrounds and libraries are all areas in which it’s possible for children to get over-excited and injure themselves. Most people are very aware of their surroundings and take reasonable care as they use facilities. 

However, if there is damage through broken, disrepaired facilities in any of these places, you or your child could get injured. You could experience cuts, fractures, concussion, serious blood loss or worse.

This link gives guidance on what is reasonably practical to ensure your health and safety in public places or privately operated areas. Please speak to our team if you are unsure about your possible claim.

Council House Incidents – Claim Compensation From The Council

If the local authority is your landlord, they have a duty of care to ensure your home is safe. Regular fire checks, structural reviews and gas safety tests are just some of the responsibilities the local authority have to you in your council home.

The charity Shelter provides information about how to find your local authority and offers an overview on their duties to tenants. Briefly, if you suffered an injury because of a structural problem or unattended risk, they could be liable. Some specific examples could include:

  • Damp and mould issues
  • Repeated complaints not acted upon
  • Uncollected waste creating a health hazard
  • Structural problems
  • Lack of basic utilities or problems with heat, water and light
  • Roofing issues
  • Proximity to high-risk offenders/personal risk of violence and abuse
  • Environmental noise or pollution

There may be other circumstances that cause you detriment and result in injuring your health. If you can prove that these issues are directly related to your home and the failure on the part of the council to uphold their duties, speak to our team today.

How Long Do I Have To Make A Personal Injury Claim?

Most personal injury claims need to be made within a three year period, which runs from the date of the accident. With accidents that happen to children, the three year period commences when they reach the age of 18, giving them until their 21st birthday.

A claim can also be made on a child’s behalf before they turn 18. To do this, a litigation friend would need to act on their behalf.

A No Win No Fee lawyer can explain how to assemble the correct information to claim compensation from the council quickly and at no upfront costs to you or your children. Simply get in touch with our team on the number at the top of this page to find out more.

Council Compensation Claim Calculator

How exactly would a No Win No Fee lawyer calculate potential damages on your behalf? Importantly, a word of caution about the many online law firms who offer ‘instant’ valuations using personal injury claims calculators.

It should be noted that whilst they may seem to give on-the-spot amounts, these figures can often fail to take into account the many subtle aspects of your personal circumstances. We look at how to value your claim properly by discussing your claim with you in detail. Only then is it possible to gain a clear idea of what your case could be worth. 

However, we’ve included some useful information below to help.

Calculating General Damages With A Personal Injury Claim Calculator

The Judicial College is a body that provides estimated awards for a whole array of potential injuries. They suggest amounts based on how your injuries caused you pain and suffering and detail this in their regularly updated guidelines. Here are some figures taken from those guidelines:

Injury and SeverityNotesValue
Head/Brain injury - very severeThis award applies to severe sensory impairment and the requirement for constant care£264,650 - £379,100
Knee injury - severeBroken joint, gross ligament damage, lengthy treatment with considerable loss of function and ongoing pain£65,440 - £90,290
Leg injury - moderateComplicated fractures and severe crushing. Degenerative changes and imperfect repair issues. The award takes into account loss of ability to work or enjoy life as before£26,050 - £36,790
Hand/wrist - moderatePenetrating wounds or crush injuries, tissue damage and lacerations. This award is appropriate where surgery has failed and permanent damages remain£5,260 - £12,460
Foot injuries - severeFractures with restricted mobility and permanent pain could be appropriate for this award. Also degloving and ulceration issues£39,390 - £65,710
Hip injuries - moderateWhere fractures may necessitate hip replacement and future, ongoing symptoms£11,820 - £24,950
Elbow - severeImpaired function and severe disabling injury, loss of mobility, the need for surgery£36,770 - £51,460
Back injury - severeDamage to the spinal cord, severe pain and possible paralysis£85,470 - £151,070
CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)Greatly reduced ability to work, significant domestic care and psychological issues£49,270 - £78,840
Injuries to any part of the body but award is based on recovery timeInjuries of short duration with a complete recovery. There may be significant pain but eventually recovered£1,290 - £2,300
Dermatitis with psychological impactEffects that last for years and cause emotional/psychological issues£12,900 - £18,020
Anywhere on the bodySerious laceration scars£7,350 - £21,330
Back injury - moderateThis is a wide bracket but symptoms are generally compression or crush in lumbar causing constant pain and discomfort and increased risk of osteoarthritis£26,050 - £36,390

Based on the results of a medical assessment, your No Win No Fee lawyer will seek to obtain the maximum damages possible, using the figures in the Judicial College Guidelines to hone in on the right value. 

Special damages

Special damages form the second component of your settlement amount. They take in to account all of the out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of your injuries, such as:

  • Any impact on your earnings from missed work
  • Loss of potential or anticipated earnings
  • Care costs for someone needing to look after you
  • Travel expenses to hospital appointments
  • Negative impact on pension rights
  • Missed and lost deposits from cancelled plans
  • Therapy or counselling costs

Just as an example, the cost of privately funded care to have someone come to your home and help as you recover can be between £650 – £1,600. This would present a massive problem for most people. A No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel can show you how to keep detailed records and win this money back from the defendant.

There may be other things you could claim for. Receipts, bills and proof that you had to meet unforeseen and unwanted costs as a result of your injuries could all form part of your claim.

With the right guidance, it’s possible to incorporate these sums. You may have thought the money spent was just an unavoidable consequence of your accident. This may not be the case. Speak to our team to discuss eligibility and you could start a claim for compensation against your local authority and win this money back today.

No Win No Fee Agreements

Thanks to the internet, there has been a great increase in interest in No Win No Fee claims, but what does it mean and how could using a lawyer this way help you? Also referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs, there are many advantages to this service, particularly for people who have never used a lawyer before and are perhaps nervous about the prospect. For example:

Advantages of No Win No Fee Service To Claim Compensation From The Council:

  • When you hire a No Win No Fee lawyer there are no fees to pay upfront
  • As your case proceeds, there is still nothing to pay
  • If your case does not win, there is nothing to pay your solicitors at all
  • Successful cases mean that you only pay a small percentage to your lawyers
  • This fee is legally capped to keep it low and as fair to you as possible
  • The fee is only payable after you have received your full payout
  • You receive excellent legal advice and support throughout your case

For people who lack the immediate funds to hire a solicitor, No Win No Fee could be the best option.

Each case is decided on its individual circumstances, but No Win No Fee agreements allow access to expert advice and provide excellent value for money for many people.

Finding An Appropriate Solicitor For You

Most people would seek to find a solicitors firm in the following ways:

  • Go to the local solicitors in the high street closest to them, though they may lack the expertise you need
  • Act on a personal recommendation
  • Call a number in the local paper
  • Do a search online using Google
  • Put their faith in an online calculator on a website

All of these options have mixed merit. There is another option which is to contact us. When you call our team they can assess your eligibility and potentially direct you to our specialist panel of personal injury lawyers who possess experience in No Win No Fee public liability cases.

Helping people remotely online, they are able to handle cases for people just like you all across the UK.

To Recap:

We’ve covered quite a lot of ground in this article and if there’s anything you are unclear about please call the number below. To summarise:

  • You believe the local authority had a duty of care
  • In your opinion that duty was breached
  • You suffered injuries as a result of that breach
  • A medical assessment can help prove your claim and your injuries
  • You can speak to a No Win No Fee lawyer through our team
  • You know about the evidence you need in order to succeed: receipts, bills, CCTV footage if appropriate
  • You can have your case valued by our expert team

In reality, many clear breaches are settled before needing to actually go to court. Your lawyer will advise every step of the way.

Don’t think that the trip or stumble on a curb was necessarily your fault. It may be an outstanding issue the council has still not dealt with. Those tree roots that tripped you up or damaged your car are their responsibility. The playground you take your child to should be as safe as possible. Any scenario involving demonstrable negligence on the council’s part could be the basis for your claim.

Contact Us Today To Claim Compensation From The Council

We hope this article has helped. If you feel ready to start your negligence case against the local authority today or just require more information on any of the topics we’ve touched upon, please feel free to:

We understand that suing a public body may seem daunting. It’s important to remember that if health and safety regulations were breached and it caused you injuries in an avoidable accident, you have a legal right to make a claim.

Essential Links

You can click on any of the highlighted links throughout this article to read more information. Below are some essential links that we hope can also help in your decision to launch a negligence claim.

This article specifically relates to claims against the council, but if you suffered injuries in the workplace or on the roads, our team can still happily take your call and discuss how you could launch other types of personal injury claims against a negligent party.

For reporting broken pavements and hazards to the council, please read here

For more information about council housing, please read here

Road accident and safety statistics can be read in detail here

Click here to learn how to claim compensation for an accident at work

Or here to discover how to claim compensation for an allergic reaction

And here you can find out how to claim compensation for a car accident


Thank you for reading our guide on how to claim compensation from the council. 


Guide by FE

Edited by RN