Claiming compensation for an accident in a public place
When you go out to the supermarket, visit your local park for a leisurely walk, take the family to a café for lunch or go to the cinema, you should be able to expect to do so safely. You don’t even think about the risk of getting hurt.
So if you have been to a public place and been injured or become ill because of someone else’s carelessness, it’s only right that you should be able to claim injury compensation for what’s happened to you.
We understand that even thinking about making an injury claim can be stressful after the accident, particularly if you’re still on the road to recovery. That’s why our expert advisors are available now to listen compassionately and with understanding if are thinking of making a claim. We’ll ask a few simple questions and then explain how we can assist you.
We can help you claim injury compensation on a No Win No Fee basis which means there is absolutely no financial outlay for you. We listen carefully to your account of what happened. This means we can get a clear insight into the full extent of the injury on your personal, social and working life – and even on your future. We can then guide you as to next steps.
How do accidents in public places happen?
It is a reality of life that there is a risk of accidents wherever we go, even when you go to public places where others have a duty to protect visitors from the risk of harm. Thankfully, laws exist to protect you. The Occupiers Liability Act 1957, for example, expects those responsible for public places to ensure they take reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of individuals.
Even with these laws in place, no one can ever guarantee that an accident will not happen – whether it’s a shop or a public place operated by the local authority. However, if an accident does happen and it wasn’t the injured person’s responsibility, it is only fair that the person or organisation responsible for the incident should be held accountable.
So if you’ve been injured, the law protects you by allowing you to make an injury claim.
Common accidents in public places
Many different kinds of accidents and incidents can happen while people are out and about, running errands or enjoying open spaces or other activities. The most common types of accidents in public places include:
Parks and playgrounds
Whether you’re going to the park for a dog walk or taking the kids to a public playground, it’s a joyous experience to be out and about enjoying the fresh air and exercise. However, injuries to children can be caused by faulty or poorly maintained playground equipment and uncleared obstacles on footpaths could result in accidents and injury. Lack of appropriate warning or hazard signs could also contribute to the risk of accidents.
To minimise the risk of injury to park visitors, the local authority has a duty of care to take reasonable measures preventing accidents from happening.
Supermarkets and shops
Sadly, accidents in shops are not as uncommon as you might think. Poorly stacked displays can collapse, spillages may be left uncleared for too long and objects can fall from high shelves causing injuries. These are often not trivial incidents – they can cause serious injury. Even in the supermarket car park, uneven surfaces or hazards left for the unwary can lead to accident and injury. It is possible you may think you may have been careless, but the fact is – shops and supermarkets have a legal duty to keep the risk of accidents to a minimum. This means that if you were injured in a shop, it’s highly likely they should be held accountable to you for what happened.
Restaurants, cafes and bars
Visiting a restaurant for a meal or going to the bar for a drink with a mate is one of the great joys in life, and you should be able to enjoy doing so safely. But accidents can happen, sometimes involving scalds, poorly maintained chairs, broken glass, slipping on grease or even contracting food poisoning. If you’ve been injured or become ill after visiting a bar or café, it’s understandable to feel particularly awkward or worried about making a claim. But those running these establishments have stringent health and safety duties towards their visitors, and if they fail – you have every right to make an injury claim.
The UK public transport system is huge and includes hundreds of train stations and platforms and the London Underground. However, with the potentially large numbers of commuters and other travellers on the train and underground every day, there are obvious risks of injury for the unsuspecting: automatic ticket barriers can malfunction, platforms may not be gritted in icy weather and luggage trolleys may be left unattended and pose a risk to passengers. No one expects to travel on a train and suffer injury on their journey. Train station operators have a duty of care to keep any risk of injury to visitors to their premises to a minimum. The fact is, if you’ve had the distressing experience of being injured at a station or platform, you may well be able to claim injury compensation.
Who will my claim be against?
It can be worrying, thinking that you’ll be claiming compensation from a cash-strapped local authority or, for example, a café that is struggling to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But you need not worry – the organisations or individuals responsible for shops, parks and restaurants and other places open to the public must have public liability insurance in place to cover the risk of injury claims. This means that should you win your claim, the money will be paid out by the insurance company, not, for instance, the café or local council.
If you have any concerns about this, you can mention them to your solicitor.
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation you are entitled to depends very much on your injuries and the impact on your life.
You are entitled to what is known as ‘general damages’ which will reflect your injuries and pain and suffering. The more serious your injuries and the longer it takes to recover, the more you will receive. Every claim is individual and it can be difficult to calculate exactly how much you could claim – but you can try our online Claim Calculator to find examples of compensation amounts.
You will also be able to claim for your actual financial losses. This could include loss of earnings and overtime, the cost of prescriptions and medical treatment, travelling expenses and damaged belongings – anything that is directly related to the accident and your injuries. Be sure to keep records of what you have had to spend money on, for example, invoices and receipts so that your solicitor can claim these back for you.
What will it cost me?
We know it’s daunting to think about the costs of making a claim. You may even question whether it will be worth it.
But you need not worry. There are no upfront costs and what’s more, our specialist lawyers work on a ‘No win No fee’ basis.
Put simply, this means if you win, the other side will have to pay your legal costs and you would pay an agreed success fee to your solicitors (this is usually about 25% of your compensation). If you lose, your costs would be covered by an insurance policy (arranged by your solicitor).
So it’s reassuring to know, that if you don’t win your claim, you won’t pay a penny.
What should I do now?
Your best move right now is to call us free on 0800 0511 511 for an initial chat about how you can make your injury claim. It can be a relief to speak with experienced advisors who understand how hard it is to think about making a claim – especially when you’re also recovering from injury.
Being involved in an accident in a public park, shop or restaurant can be as traumatic as it is unexpected. We know that whatever the nature and extent of your injury, the emotional and mental effects can be difficult to cope with.
Let us guide you through the process. Our panel of specialist solicitors are here to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are rightfully entitled to.