Claiming Compensation for an Accident in a Public Place
Your local highway authority or the owner of a piece of land that you visit is legally responsible for the maintenance of their stretch of road, building or land. They have a duty to take reasonable steps to try to prevent accidents from occurring, such as having systems of inspection, cleaning, repairing and a complaints process.
So if you’ve been injured, for example in a slip, trip or fall accident in a shop or supermarket as a result of a hazard or defect and they didn’t take any steps to try and prevent it from happening, then you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Get in touch with our Personal Injury Solicitors for a free, no-obligation discussion and we can assess whether your claim has a good chance of success. We may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis – ask us for details.
How Can I Prove the Accident wasn’t My Fault?
If you have, for instance, tripped over a piece of defective concrete in the road or pavement, our Personal Injury Solicitors could argue on your behalf that this was a foreseeable hazard that had the potential to cause injury to any person passing through this location.
In this scenario, the Local Authority could be held liable because, under the provisions of Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, if road maintenance expenses are met from the public purse, such works are the responsibility of the relevant highway authority.
They’re legally obliged to implement a regular and reasonable system of inspection and ensure maintenance to keep the public safe. So if you were injured because of a foreseeable hazard, it may be the case that they failed to meet their obligations and were therefore negligent in keeping you safe.
However, a Local Authority or the owner of a public place could deny liability, in which case you need to bolster your claim with evidence.
What to Do after an Accident in a Public Place
- Obtain details of anyone who witnessed your accident and/or witnesses who can comment on how long the defect has been in that particular state
- Take clear photographs of the defect, making sure they are taken alongside a ruler (if possible) so that the height or depth is easily visible and mark on the photograph the direction of travel and the exact point of impact
- Take photographs of the surrounding area, showing easily identifiable landmarks and street names
Report the accident to the Local Authority or owner of the public building responsible
- Get medical advice immediately if you have sustained an injury and report the details as to how the accident happened to the hospital/GP to ensure it is recorded
Known as “Public Liability claims”, these cases can be notoriously difficult and are often rejected by some law firms for this reason. But with the above information, you’ll be able to present clear, objective evidence of fault on behalf of the other party.
This can prove decisive in a public liability claim, demonstrating beyond doubt that the other party failed in their legal duty to protect members of the public passing through the scene of your accident.
Our Personal Injury Solicitors have a proven track record of successfully dealing with public liability claims throughout England and Wales. Our travel claims team deal with accidents on holiday abroad.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.