What is a public liability claim?

Here at The Compensation Experts, we aim to get you the compensation you deserve. If you’ve suffered an accident in a public space, you might be eligible to make a public liability claim.

Here at The Compensation Experts, we aim to get you the compensation you deserve. If you’ve suffered an accident in a public space, you might be eligible to make a public liability claim.

What is public liability?

As much as we try to avoid it, being injured in public places is sometimes unavoidable. But when an accident does occur in a public space, it falls under public liability and public space injuries.

The public liability definition encompasses any accidents and personal injuries that happen in a public space where a public entity is liable for the accident, most commonly the local council.

Accidents relating to public liability claims usually happen on the street, the roads, and in public places such as parks. However, it’s important to note that accidents in shops and supermarkets do not fall under public liability. Instead, they fall under private space liability claims as they are privately owned, placing responsibility on the owner.


What is a public liability claim injury?

The most common type of public liability claims typically revolves around accidents relating to trips, slips, and falls. These accidents usually happen when walking on the pavement, the road, or down public footpaths in parks. They’re usually caused by potholes or defects in the ground that lead to a fall.

There are certain rules that need to be adhered to when claiming for tripping on a pothole or a defect in a pavement or road. On a pavement, a pothole or defect must be at least an inch deep or raised. Whereas on the road, this is increased to at least 2 inches deep and at least 12 inches wide.

But public liability claims aren’t just limited to trips, slips, and falls. Falling objects are also a contributing factor to the number of public liability claims made each year. If public works are being carried out and you’re injured by a falling object, the responsibility will lie with the council unless it occurred on private property.

Other things that might lead to a public liability claim could include obstructions in the road or pavement, as well as negligence on the part of the council in relation to maintaining any public space.


Public liability claim examples

A variety of things can happen that might lead to someone making a public liability claim, but when it comes to public liability claim examples, a common occurrence is the following:

If an individual is walking along a high street with uneven pavement and suffers a trip, slip, or fall, there is the potential that they could suffer a leg or ankle injury. As the high street is a public space, they could then make a public liability claim against the council.

Further public liability claim examples could include trips, slips, and falls in other areas, or being hit by a falling object while work is taking place in a public space. Whatever the case, if you suffer an injury in a public space due to the negligence of others you can make a public liability claim.


What is the public liability of local authorities?

The Highways Act 1980 states that local authorities are responsible for keeping all roads and footpaths safe for pedestrian use.

While keeping all roads and pavements marble smooth at all times is both unnecessary and impractical, a council has a legal duty to repair any damage that occurs to their surfaces, and they must do this by making repairs within six months of being notified of any risk.

If a local council does not do this and someone has an accident, then you can make a public liability claim against the council.


What do I need to make a public liability claim?

Like all personal injury claims, your solicitor will need evidence that another party was responsible for your injury in order to prove and win your public liability claim.

There is a variety of evidence you can collect to strengthen your public liability claim, including:

  • Reporting the accident to the authorities as soon as you can.
  • Making a note of your accident in an accident book if one is available.
  • Taking down the names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.
  • Photographing the area in which the accident happened.
  • Measuring the height and width of a pothole responsible for your injury.

When you have an accident due to a defect in the road or pavement, it’s particularly important that you take photos of the defect. This will help with your case, as it can be proof of the defect in a claim.

If possible, you should gather information on how long the defect has been there, how often the local council repairs defects, and if other people have had accidents in the same place. If the accident was previously reported, how long did it take the council to fix the defect, and did they actually did fix it?

It’s important that you report the defect to the council so that they are aware of the defect. However, if you wish to make a personal injury claim, you should not try and claim directly with the council. This is because if you have already tried to claim from the council, and they deny liability, then it is unlikely that they will accept liability if you start a personal injury claim.


What to do if you think you’re eligible to claim

If you’ve suffered an accident in a public space that wasn’t your fault, there’s a good chance that you can make a public liability claim.

And the first step is to get in touch with our team here at The Compensation Experts. We work closely with solicitors who have years of experience with winning public liability claims.

Once you’re paired with a solicitor of your liking, they’ll walk you through the claims process, help you to gather evidence, and give you an indication of how much you could claim for. You might even be able to make a no win, no fee claim*.

Get in touch with our team when you’re ready and see how we can help you.


*Conditions may apply

    Start by speaking to our expert team now and find out how much your claim could be worth...