What is a Public Liability Accident?
If a space is being used by members of the public, then the space must be safe and free from unnecessary risks. If an accident or injury does occur whilst a member of the public is using that space, then the owner of the space may be liable. This is described as public liability.
Duty of Care and Legislation
In English and Welsh law, the owner of the land or the property is considered to have a duty of care to protect those who use that space, so that users do not suffer unreasonable harm or loss whilst doing so. If an accident or injury does occur, then the law will seek to establish whether negligence has occurred. This is usually done by considering whether the potential for harm was foreseeable, and whether it was fair, just and reasonable for the owner to have had a duty of care over the injured party.
The owner may not have a duty of care over people who were not using the area for its intended purpose.
Public Liability Accidents
There is a wide variety of different types of public liability claims, in part because there are so many different places where these incidents can occur. Homeowners, hotels, workplaces, public spaces, parks, hospitals, transport hubs, shops, sports grounds and many other sites are all places where public liability claims may be raised.
Slips, trip and falls are probably one of the most common types of incidents which trigger public liability claims. Other incidents include; head and brain injuries, sporting injuries, holiday injuries, food poisoning claims and many more. Any type of incident where the individual or company who owns premises has failed in their duty of care can give rise to a public injury claim.
What Should a Person do if they are Involved in a Public Liability accident
If you are injured in a public place, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. As well as helping to treat your injuries, this can help to provide you with adequate medical records in case you do decide to make a claim for compensation.
Keep all documents relating to the claim, in case you need to use them as evidence. You should also report the incident to the owner of the land, so that they have the opportunity to take steps to prevent the same type of accident from happening to someone else. If you decide that you would like to make a claim, you should begin your claim as soon as possible.
There is a three year limitation period on this type of claim in England, and you will not be able to make a claim if this period has elapsed.
How to Make a Public Liability Claim
You have the best chance of making a successful claim if you use the services of a qualified public liability expert. They will listen to your case and advise you about whether you can make a valid claim. They will also assess your evidence to tell you how much the claim could be worth.
Once they have created a solid claim on your behalf, they will contact the liable party to let them know that a claim is being made against them. The defendant may choose to offer a compensation settlement straight away, or else they may try to negotiate a smaller award. If they choose not to make and offer at all, or an agreement cannot be reached, then the case may end up going to court. In these circumstances, your solicitor will advocate for you.