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Three examples of when to make a public liability claim.

Sometimes accidents or injuries happen through no fault of our own, and when they do, there’s no shame in getting a little help to get back on your feet. This is especially true for accidents that are completely outside your control. 

If you’re injured in a public place because of someone else’s negligence, a public liability claim is like a safety net that’s there to help you financially while you recover. In this article we look at three examples of when to make a public liability claim, and how you can get financial support to help you recover after an injury.


So, what are the public liability laws?

Public liability law refers to the duty of care or responsibility a business, organisation, property owner or tenant has to the general public. If they breach that duty, and that causes someone to be injured, they may be held liable to pay damages. 

To make a successful public liability insurance claim, you need to show that the person or organisation responsible for the property where you were injured failed to put reasonable measures in place to prevent you from being harmed. These measures could include things like warning signs about safety hazards, or maintenance of equipment or public areas of the property. For more information, read our public liability claim guide

Here are three public liability claim examples. 

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? 

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 the council was aware of the hazard, had the opportunity to fix it and protect the public from injury, but failed to do so. 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 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, domestic assistance, as well as lump sums for pain and suffering, permanent impairment and future losses. 

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. 

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