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The Strangest Public Injuries, According To Reddit

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Accidents can happen anywhere and for The Compensation Experts, accidents in public areas are one of the most common reasons people contact us. In the last year, more than 20,000 people have visited The Compensation Experts website for information on broken bones due to injury and accidents. Interestingly, more than 2,000 people appear to have been impacted by tripping over a pavement; and just shy of this number have also apparently been involved in a supermarket or shop injury.  

More than 9,000 people have enquired as to whether securing a compensation package would impact their benefits entitlement. More than 3,000 people appear to have been involved in a workplace accident, and (worryingly!) two-thousand-seven-hundred people have looked to us for information about accidents that take place on school property. 

The owner of any public venue, be it a council-owned park or a corporate-owned shopping centre, is responsible for ensuring all reasonable measures are taken to prevent public accidents. If you do get injured on public property as a result of an accident – which you feel could have been avoided if proper measures were in place – you might therefore be entitled to compensation. 

Common examples of compensation claims for public space injuries include slipping on a wet floor, tripping on uneven payment, falling down staircases within poorly lit areas and injuries on construction building sites. However, outside of these prevalent public space accidents, there can be cases with highly unusual circumstances, or in other words, ‘freak’ accidents which can occur anywhere.  

Using data gathered from Reddit /LegalAdviceUK, which supports 878,000 members and exists to provide legal support across the nation, we’re breaking down 15 of the strangest public injuries according to posted stories, from shocking carnival ride injuries to broken bones caused by restaurant furniture, including how likely it is that each person could get compensation.  

Funfair worker breaks child’s elbow on carnival ride 

According to this Reddit post, an England based ride operator slammed down a safety bar on a child without warning, which resulted in a broken elbow. Despite the child being in obvious, immediate pain, including screaming and crying, the ride continued and staff appeared to show no concern. Following the ride nightmare, the child’s mother reported the accident and staff gave a £5.00 refund as a response, with no further help offered.  

A trip to A&E revealed the broken elbow, meaning significant pain, a cast, and missed activities like swimming lessons while it healed. The child’s mother reported the incident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) but was still worried the same thing could happen to someone else. 

A claim might be possible if: 

  • The ride operator didn’t warn before slamming the safety bar, causing injury. 
  • The staff didn’t stop the ride when they were made aware of the child’s pain. 
  • The safety bar coming down caused the injury whose effects may have been made worse by the failure to stop the ride. 
  • Depending on the extent of the injury, there may be more long-term consequences for this family, which may also warrant compensation. 

Broken supermarket trolley seat injures a baby’s back  

Injuries in supermarkets are generally rare and this specific example is no exception.  According to this Reddit post, an 18-month-old baby fell backwards onto a metal bar when a shopping trolley seat broke at Tesco supermarket.  

The baby experienced a lot of pain and bruising, which was really upsetting for both the baby and the mother. The store recorded the incident and saved the CCTV footage, promising to follow up but, in the end, they didn’t. It was only after the parents contacted the store again that they assigned an internal injuries team to investigate the incident.  

However, no one knew if the store even regularly checked the trolleys. And if the damage was not reported before the baby used the trolley, the store wouldn’t have known about it in the first place.  

A supermarket injury claims claim might succeed under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 if: 

  • The trolley seat breaking was the cause of the injury. 
  • The CCTV proves her version of events. 
  • The staff did not regularly check the state of the trolleys. 

Bar serves a drink with glass shards instead of ice  

In this Reddit post horror, what should have been a refreshing iced drink turned out to have small glass shards in it. A customer attended a bar with friends to unwind and after consuming a drink, discovered the ice didn’t melt and it was actually glass. Only after crunching and potentially swallowing it, the customer realised it was glass, which caused small cuts in their mouth and throat.  

The medical team at A&E said to ‘watch and wait’ to see if it got better and advised them to come back straight away if they coughed up blood or felt any other pain.  

When the accident happened, a staff member admitted glass had broken earlier in the area where they store glasses. This might have contaminated the customer’s drink. The customer received a goodwill refund and immediately left. 

The customer might have a case if: 

  • The drink contained glass shards. 
  • The glass shards were present in the drink through staff negligence and carelessness. 
  • The incident was the cause of the injury to the patron. 

Sharp bus break leads to a passenger broken leg   

Slips, trips and falls are frequent public space injuries and there are certain cases that can lead to serious injuries. This Reddit example highlights this, in which a bus passenger fell down the stairs and broke her leg when the driver braked suddenly. As a result, the passenger needed two operations and had to have titanium rods put in her leg.  

The bus operator claimed she must have slipped rather than fallen as a response, saying the bus wasn’t actually moving at the time. She then asked to see the CCTV so she could prove she didn’t slip and to show the bus was actually in motion when she fell.  

She told others on Reddit that her injuries were life-changing, sharing that she now found climbing the 63 steps to her flat incredibly difficult.  

This lady may be able to make a strong public transport accident claim if: 

  • The driver’s sudden braking caused her to fall. 
  • CCTV footage can show the bus was moving. 
  • The passenger suffered severe injuries that have significantly impacted her daily life. 
  • Reasonable measures were not in place to support passenger safety on the bus. 

Falling balcony glass scars nightclub customer’s face 

Bar and nightclub injuries are common spaces for private space injuries. According to this Reddit post, someone either threw or dropped a glass from a nightclub balcony, hitting another person square in the face. The glass didn’t shatter but it did cause a wound between the eyes, needing a trip to A&E, stitches, and the person might possibly even end up with scarring. 

After the accident, the person who had been injured was adamant that the club should have used plastic cups instead of glass ones. The club promised to follow up with their guest but didn’t. They haven’t responded to his attempts to contact them either. 

The injured person could consider claiming for an injury that happened in a private place if: 

  • The nightclub failed to put reasonable measures in place to prevent dangerous behaviour, if this is what led to the glass striking the injured person. 
  • The use of glass cups increased risk of injury, and an alternate option – such as plastic cups – were available to the club but not used. 
  • The injury required medical treatment and may result in lasting scars. 

Unmarked restaurant glass door leads to face stitching  

This Reddit story highlights the danger of an unmarked revolving door. A customer at a restaurant walked into an unmarked glass pane in a revolving door, hurting their face and needing stitches in their eyebrow. Luckily, a passerby saw what happened and helped and the restaurant staff quickly provided first aid too. 

When the customer returned, they noticed that the glass pane they walked into was the only one without a safety marking. All the other glass panes were correctly marked – in line with regulations. 

A compensation claim might be possible if: 

  • The glass pane was not marked for safety. 
  • All other glass panes had safety markings on them. 
  • The lack of safety marking led to the injury. 

Supermarket yoghurt spill injures a customer’s back injury  

A yoghurt spill in a supermarket upended a customer, as reported within this Reddit post. The fall made the customer’s existing back issues worse and they even had to take time off work to recover. This was unfortunate because they were self-employed and not eligible for sick pay.  

At the time of the accident, the shop owner said the staff were new and didn’t know what to do, so they didn’t deal with the spillage. They hadn’t put warning signs up around the spill either. The whole incident was caught on CCTV, but it was unclear if it was logged in an accident book as well. This person may be able to make a slip, trip or fall claim if: 

  • The staff weren’t trained on how to deal with a spill in-store. 
  • As a result, the staff did not put up a warning sign. 
  • The slip resulted in making the customer’s existing back issues worse which caused them to take time off work. 

Uneven pavement trip sparks severe ankle and leg injury 

An uneven pavement trip caused severe damage to a 25-year-old’s ankle and leg, according to this Reddit thread. About 20 screws and four plates were needed to fix the injury. This required a long recovery period, including a program of physical therapy.  

And being self-employed made things harder for the injured person. That meant they weren’t eligible for sick pay, so they had to claim benefits.  

The injured person also believed this wasn’t the first injury of this kind in the area. 

Making a claim could be successful if: 

  • The pavement’s condition was a danger to members of the public. 
  • The local authority failed to maintain the pavement to the required standard, especially if they knew about it in advance. 
  • The trip over the uneven pavement slap was the cause of the injury that required physical therapy, affecting the person’s ability to work. 

Staff member spills boiling water on customer’s foot 

According to this Reddit post, a pub goer was injured watching the football after a staff member dropped boiling water onto the customer’s foot, causing blisters, scalding, and severe pain. The pub staff were slow to respond, focusing more on cleaning up the spill than the accident itself.  

The manager then got involved, applying first aid, and calling a taxi. The manager also offered, both on the phone and in writing, to replace the damaged shoes and give the injured person a free night ‘on the house’.  

They were very apologetic about the lack of action by the other staff members. 

This person may be able to make a successful claim for compensation if: 

  • The staff caused the accident by not paying reasonable care and attention when carrying hot water. 
  • There was a slow response from the staff in delivering first aid, which may have increased injury. 
  • The boiling water was the direct cause of the patron’s injuries. 

Falling scaffolding strikes passing pedestrian 

In this freak scaffolding accident, a pedestrian reported on Reddit that they were hit by a 3-foot plank of wood. It struck their right leg and left hand with considerable force.  

The pedestrian was left with severe bruising, making driving difficult and needing physiotherapy to fix. At the time, the site manager tried to persuade the injured person not to take further action.  

This person may have a clam if: 

  • A construction worker failed to ensure that the scaffolding was safely secured. 
  • The site manager failed to check the quality of the securing of the scaffolding. 
  • The injury was caused by scaffolding which has not been properly secured. 

Dark cinema trip leads to an ankle ligament tear  

Bad lighting in a cinema aisle caused a customer to trip, tearing an ankle ligament. They needed to use crutches for two weeks and experienced ongoing pain.  

They also had to pay for taxis, medication, and ankle support following the accident. They were annoyed that they then couldn’t train for an upcoming half marathon they had signed up for.  

And although the cinema’s duty manager filed an accident report, the cinema did not respond when the injured person followed up. 

A claim might succeed if: 

  • The lighting in the cinema was inadequate from a health and safety perspective. 
  • The inadequate lighting caused the customer to fall and injure themselves. 
  • The customer lost money as the result of costs associated with the injury and their inability to compete in the half marathon whose entry they’d paid for. 

Wet stair fall leads to a broken ankle and leg fracture  

A customer broke their ankle after slipping on flooded stairs during a quick trip to the bathroom. There were no warning signs, and the pub manager said the wet floor was a recurring issue due to a faulty glass washing machine.  

To make things worse, the area where the accident happened was not blocked off after the fall so the customer was stepped over by staff and other customers while waiting for an ambulance.  

A trip to A&E later and a broken ankle was accompanied by a fracture higher up in the leg, needing at least one operation, physio and rehab, and causing arthritis in the rebuilt joint. 

This person may be able to make a claim for compensation if: 

  • The pub didn’t put up warning signs for the wet floor. 
  • The area was not blocked off to prevent more accidents. 
  • The pub had a recurring issue with the glass washing machine. 
  • The injury sustained by the customer was as a direct result of their slipping on the wet stairs. 

Restaurant furniture fall leads to broken arm 

A fall over restaurant furniture resulted in a broken arm as well as other minor injuries, according to this Reddit post. The cafe had chairs and tables covering the entire pavement, but it was supposed to leave space between its furniture and the edge of the pavement at that time of day and hadn’t.  

The injured person took photos of the table and chairs’ position at the time of the accident, as well as other photos showing alleged non-compliance.  

The fall resulted in over six weeks of pain for the person,, a sling, and the inability to drive or pick up their small child. They also had to extend their child’s nursery hours due to the injury, leading to additional costs. 

A claim might succeed if: 

  • The furniture was on the pavement outside the permitted hours or areas. 
  • The placing of the furniture made the pavement unsafe for pedestrians. 
  • The fall was as a direct result of the placing of the furniture on the pavement. 

Supermarket bottle drop leads to serious eye injury 

In this freak supermarket accident, a customer in a shop dropped a bottle of wine that was wet from being in the fridge. It smashed, and the glass hit their eye, slicing the retina, sclera, cornea, and pupil.  

Emergency surgery was needed, resulting in moderate vision impairment in the right eye, a cataract from the scarring, and astigmatism. The customer was waiting to have stitches removed but knew they would need sedation due to potential PTSD from the incident.  

They were undergoing therapy and awaiting a formal PTSD diagnosis. They also struggled at university due to the trauma and the injury. 

This person might be able to claim compensation for the eye injury if:  

  • The shop may not have stored the bottles properly. 
  • There might have been poor maintenance and checks for hazards like wet bottles. 
  • The dropping of the bottle led to the customer’s severe injuries and other impacts like PTSD. 

Heavy, falling box causes severe customer bruising  

In another example of injuries caused by heavy, falling items, a 70 year-old woman was struck by a weighty box whilst shopping.  

After a 10 hour A&E wait, it was thankfully revealed that there were no broken bones, however the customer had severe leg bruising, including edema and haematoma. The leg bruising was so severe that the customer couldn’t walk for a few days.  

Following the incident, the customer’s daughter investigated gaining CCTV footage.  

The customer may have a case if: 

  • The heavy object had not been stored lower to the ground.  
  • The shelving was not stable or well-secured which was holding the box. 
  • The shop staff were not health and safety trained for storing equipment  

What is Public Liability? 

Individuals, businesses, property owners and other organisations have a responsibility to make sure that the public is safe when on their land or their property. 

You can pursue a public space injury claim to secure compensation if you were injured in a public place like a supermarket, restaurant, or leisure outlet. 

Common public liability claim examples include slips, trips, and falls in shops, restaurants, cinemas, and pubs. If your claim is successful, you can claim compensation for your pain and suffering as well as to cover other expenses like medical costs and loss of income. 

How can The Compensation Experts help? 

We work with a hand-selected network of Britain’s leading personal injury lawyers. Our role is to make sure the right solicitor represents you if you decide to make a compensation claim. 

When you get in touch, let us know what happened to you. If we think you have a claim, then we’ll introduce you to the solicitor we believe is best capable of building the strongest case possible for your compensation claim. 

Our service is free. Every law firm in our network works on a no-win, no-fee basis, too. That means if they don’t secure compensation for your accident, you don’t pay them. If they do secure compensation for you, their fee is 25% including VAT of your total settlement. 

For more information, our Compensation Calculator uses rates supplied by the Judicial College Guidelines, which judges use when deciding on compensation. 

Get in touch with us today to find out if you have a case. Call us on 0800 182 2913 or fill in the form on our contact page.  


The Compensation Experts analysed 100+ posts within the Reddit /LegalAdviceUK thread, which supports 878,000 members, and hand-selected examples of freak accidents in which affected individuals may be entitled to compensation.