Accidents in Public Places
To make a claim for an accident that happens in a public place, the main requirement is to establish another party’s liability – e.g. Public liability.
If negligence of a person or a business that are responsible for a public place can be established as a cause of your accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
Compensation for Accidents in Public Places can include:
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Legal expenses associated with claim
- Loss of earnings (and potentially future earnings)
Public Liability Insurance
Most councils and other public bodies have insurance in place to cover claims payouts to those taking a personal injury claim. This is applicable to privately owned businesses as well.
Types of Accidents in Public Places
- Injuries caused by concealed objects/other obstructions that could not be avoided.
- Slips, trips and falls
- Being struck by falling objects or loose fixtures and fittings.
What to do if you have an accident in a public place
- Take photographs of the scene as soon as possible.
- Take any witness details and contact details for said witnesses.
- Report accident to owners/management of the public place immediately.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Accidents can occur in a variety of places including footpaths, pavements and kerbs, public events, in shopping centres, public parks, supermarkets swimming pools or even when taking part in a sporting activity.
The most important part of public place accidents is establishing liability and proving that the liability rests with a potential defendant.
A property owner is required to take what is deemed to be reasonable steps to avoid accidents happening on their property.
The absolute duty of care
There is one exception to the above guidelines for establishing negligence, and that is in respect of whether a proprietor, property owner or any public body has the ‘absolute duty of care’. If for example you were out shopping and slipped on something that had literally just spilled on the ground in front of you, the supermarket would not be held liable for your injuries as there wasn’t ‘reasonable’ opportunity to identify and remove the hazard. This can similarly be applied to a paving stone being tripped over that has only just lifted up due to recent bad weather.
Collecting evidence of negligence can wait if it will impact upon you receiving immediately required medical treatment. Also if you did exacerbate your injuries by delaying in seeking medical attention, you could be considered to have contributed to the extent of your injury and this may affect your compensation claim.