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Three Public Liability Claim Examples, and When You Should Claim.

If you’re injured in a public place because of someone else’s negligence, a public liability claim is like a safety net that pays you compensation for your losses. But how do you know if you have a valid claim?

In this article we explain when you should make a claim, and we look at three different public liability claim examples to help you understand what qualifies for compensation.

When should I make a public liability claim?

When you’re out and about in public buildings and spaces, you’re owed a duty of care by the business, organisation, owner, or tenant responsible for the location. If they breach that duty and you’re injured, they may be held liable to pay you damages.

Their duty is to put reasonable measures in place to prevent you from being injured. These measures could include things like warning signs about safety hazards, or maintaining equipment or public areas of the property. You should consider making a public liability claim if you’ve been injured and suffered losses, like time off work or treatment expenses, and you believe reasonable safety measures weren’t in place.

The following three public liability claim examples may help you understand if you can claim.

Public liability claim example 1:

I broke my ankle after tripping over a tree root on a running path at the park. Can I sue the council?

It can be difficult to win public liability compensation claims against local councils because they’re heavily protected under the legislation, but that’s not to say they can’t be held liable for injuries.

In this example, the tree root growing into the path was a clear trip hazard. If you can show that it had been reported to the council prior to your accident, and if the council failed to do anything about it, then it’s likely you can make a public liability claim against the council.

The key legal point here is that if the council was aware of the hazard, had the opportunity to fix it and protect the public from injury, but failed to do so, then there may be a valid claim. So this is a good example of where a public liability lawyer may be able to build a strong case for you.

Public liability claim example 2:

I slipped on a puddle of water that was leaking from the supermarket fridge and injured my back. There were no warning signs in place.

Supermarkets and stores are required to make sure their appliances are regularly serviced and suitable to operate when customers are around. A fridge that leaks water is an obvious hazard and it’s the responsibility of the supermarket to have processes in place to check for hazards, put up warning signs and clean up leaks promptly.

In this situation, if it can be shown the supermarket knew or should have known about the leak but had failed to put up a warning sign or clean it up, then it’s likely you would have a strong public liability claim against the supermarket. For more information, read our supermarket slip and fall claim guide.

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Public liability claim example 3:

I fell into a drain in a private car park at night and injured my ankle and knee.

With many public liability claims, a common defence is ‘obvious risk’. This refers to the presence of a potential hazard being so obvious that the public should be able to avoid accidents by simply being careful.

But risk isn’t always obvious. For example, if the car park accident happened at night, the lighting where the car was parked was dim, and the drain was partially covered and hard to see, then it could be argued that the drain was not an obvious risk. The car park owner could have done more to prevent injury to its customers – for example, by improving the lighting or installing a barrier to prevent people falling into the drain. Again, a good public liability lawyer could build a strong case around this argument on your behalf.

With a public liability claim, what compensation is available?

Public liability compensation can cover payments for lost income, medical and travel expenses, and domestic assistance, as well as lump sums for pain and suffering, permanent impairment, and future losses. For more detailed information, read our public liability claim guide.

If you think you have a potential public liability claim and want to know if you’re entitled to compensation, give us a call on 13 15 15 and speak to one of our specialist public liability lawyers for free advice over the phone. We’ll tell you whether you have a strong case and explain how you can claim compensation.

Gillian Potts bio pic

Gillian Potts

Special Counsel

An accredited specialist in personal injury law with expertise across medical negligence, public liability and motor accident compensation claims, in a career spanning the best part of two decades.

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