What is a public liability claim and can I make one?

A public liability claim is applicable in any situation where an accident or injury has occurred in an environment that is used by the public, be it privately or publicly owned. This could be anything from a pavement, supermarket, car park, pub or leisure facilities, to name a few examples.

For a public liability claim to be successful, you need to:

  • Show that a defect (such as a raised paving stone) is large enough to cause a hazard to the general public
  • Show that the defect has been there for some time 

By far the most common types of public liability claims are for slips, trips and falls. Incidents like these can have a devastating impact, causing major or even life-changing injuries. Even if a slip, trip or fall seems minor, you might still be able to make a claim, so it’s always worth investigating, if something like that has happened to you. A public liability claim can be daunting, so let’s look at how you can make a public liability claim as smooth and straightforward as possible.

How to make a public liability claim

Public liability claims can be challenging as there can be a lot of factors to consider. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you consult a solicitor that has experience with public liability claims. 

Put simply, a making a public liability claim goes like this:

  1. Gather evidence at the scene if you can. 
  2. Know who to claim against. This could be a business or a public entity like the council, if it occurred on the street. Your solicitor can help with this. 
  3. Gather information around the circumstances of the accident, sick leave, medical costs etc.
  4. Determine the compensation amount.
  5. Contact the party you wish to claim against, notifying them of your intention to sue.
  6. Begin negotiations.

You can probably see a couple of difficulties already. If you’ve just had an accident and been injured, taking photographs and notes of the scene won’t be your priority, but anything you can use to prove negligence by the other party is incredibly beneficial for supporting your claim. For example if you fell down a large pothole, a photograph of the pothole would count as supporting evidence.

How much compensation could I get?

Before your public liability claim is submitted, you and your solicitor will first need to decide on a compensation amount. It’s important to remember that compensation isn’t about getting ‘free money’ – it’s about compensating you for loss of income, medical bills and any other costs incurred as a result of your injury or accident. Therefore, all of this will be taken into account when deciding on the compensation amount to pursue. Our compensation calculator can help give you an idea of how much you could be entitled to.

If you’ve been injured in a public place, see if you’re entitled to compensation by speaking to one of our solicitors. There’s no obligation – all we need is a few details of the accident to understand whether you can make a claim, and who to claim against. Don’t lose out on money you deserve – see if you can make a public liability claim today.

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