Public Liability claims - slips and trips
Public and private bodies have a legal duty to ensure that all pavements, roads, parks and any other public places are maintained correctly so that they are safe for members of the public to use.
If you have been injured in an accident in a public place or on private property, then you may be entitled to compensation if we can show that this duty of care has been breached.
Claiming compensation following a slip or trip
As Leeds best personal injury solicitors, we have helped people to claim for a range of public liability accidents over the years. Many of these are slips, trips and falls as a result of:
- Uneven paving slabs.
- Tree roots.
- Obstructions on the highways.
- Hazardous rubbish left in public access routes.
- Defective stairwells.
- Car parks.
How do Public Liability claims work?
Once we have identified that the defect is actionable (i.e. dangerous) and over certain required measurements, the claims process is usually straightforward. This is because the responsible party should have public liability insurance to cover their negligence.
Gathering important supporting information
To support your Public Liability compensation claim it is important that you:
- Make sure that you have the correct date and location where the accident happened.
- Take the details of the nearest house or landmark to help us find who is responsible.
- Take photos showing the cause of the accident and any potential hazard or defect. For defects such as potholes or uneven slabs, do this as soon as possible, before they can be repaired. Include accurate depth and width measurements.
- Generally, you will need to make your claim within 3 years of the accident. If you are under 18 when the accident happens then the 3 years begins on your 18th birthday, giving you until you are 21 to pursue the claim.
- Remember, the onus is on you to prove any claim you make against a public or private body.
The value of your claim will be based on the medical evidence. No claim is settled without your specific authority to do so. This ensures that you keep absolute control of your claim. Compensation is generally divided into two parts:
These are damages for pain and suffering including the loss of the ability to do certain tasks, hobbies etc. This award compensates you for the suffering you have encountered usually in its physical form e.g. whiplash, broken leg, strained muscles etc. However, it is also possible to be compensated for psychological distress and conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
You will also receive compensation for specific quantifiable losses attributable to the accident. These include loss of earnings, car hire expenses, care and services, extra expenses (e.g. travel costs incurred going to doctors, hospitals, etc,) damaged clothing, and prescription charges. All we ask is that you keep a note of any expenses, and preferably receipts so that when we eventually calculate your claim for special damages, we will be able to include all relevant items.
If the injuries were the result of a criminal attack then you might be able to claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). We have devised a CICA calculator to give victims an idea as to how much compensation they could be entitled to.
Under the Personal Injury Protocol, an insurer is allowed a period of up to four months to investigate the claim and then either admit or deny liability for your accident. If liability is to be denied, the insurer must supply evidence in support of their arguments. They cannot simply refuse to deal with your claim.
All claims in England and Wales are subject to certain rules which both solicitors and insurers must follow during the course of a claim. The protocol ensures that both sides act fairly and responsibly and it prevents delay in the progression of the claim.
You need professional legal advice to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation due to you. Insurers will attempt to settle your claim at an early stage and often before you have been able to instruct a solicitor. They do this to save legal costs which they otherwise would have to pay and to also secure the lowest settlement award possible.
A personal injury claim must either be resolved within three years of the date of injury, or proceedings must have been commenced at court within that time period. In certain claims, for example, clinical negligence and Industrial disease claims, the three year time limit runs from the date that you first became aware of the illness, disease or negligent act suffered.