By Max Malkovich. Last updated 28th June 2022. Welcome to our guide on making compensation claims against the council.
Making a personal injury claim against the council in any circumstance can be complicated and often proves to be very stressful for those involved. This is notably true for those who are still suffering from their injury, be it physically, emotionally or even financially. Making a claim against your local council for accident compensation can feel particularly daunting as they are such a large organisation and it can sometimes be too overwhelming or intimidating for some people to cope with, especially if they have no experience of personal injury claims at all.
Seeking help from a specialist personal injury solicitor from a reputable Claims Management Company can be very beneficial when pursuing compensation claims against the council. Legal Helpline can make the claim on your behalf so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Our legal team are highly experienced and know what needs to be done to give your case the best possible chance of a successful outcome to get you the compensation you deserve.
If would like advice on how to go about suing your local council or authority for an injury you have sustained that wasn’t your fault, have a read through this guide and feel free to call us at Legal Helpline on 0161 696 9685 for further guidance.
Jump to a Section
- A guide to claims against a council or other local authority
- What are claims against local authorities such as a council?
- What should you do if the council or local authority are responsible for your accident?
- Common types of injuries which can be caused by a council being negligent
- Making a compensation claim when the local authority was at fault
- Can you make claims against council or local authority as employees?
- How do we establish how severe an injury is?
- How to start suing the council for negligence
- What could Legal Helpline help me to claim?
- Compensation Claims Against Local Councils
- No Win No Fee claims against a council or local authority
- Why choose Legal Helpline when making a claim against the council
- Contact Legal Helpline today for free advice
- Useful Links
This guide has been put together to give insight into how to make compensation claims against the council. It includes information that can help and assist anyone to make compensation claims against the council for injury in different situations where the injury wasn’t the claimant’s fault, such as when travelling on pavement/road, when being in a public space controlled by the council or even when working for the council among many other possible situations where an accident causing injury could occur.
The guide will also provide information on what other things can be included in your claim that you wouldn’t necessarily have realised could be included and so can help you to maximise the council compensation payout. Every claim is unique and two people with the same injury will be affected differently and so by including extra parts to your council or local authority claim that is relevant to your situation alone, will receive a better financial outcome that is personal to you.
Also, the guide will cover things like what happens during the claiming process, what evidence needs to be collected, how much compensation you might be awarded, and how best to go about starting your claims against the council and more.
If you have sustained an injury, for example, by tripping on an un-repaired damaged pavement, then grounds could be established for compensation claims against the council. The council may be liable to pay you compensation if the accident causing your injury was due to their negligence, especially in cases where pavement or road is involved.
Making a claim against the council is actually very similar to making a claim against an employer in that you need to be able to show evidence of your accident taking place and the severity of the injury sustained, and also to give proof that the accident was due to the council’s negligence. In cases where the council wouldn’t have been able to do anything different that could’ve prevented your accident, it would be unlikely that the claim would be successful. Having said that it’s always a good idea to get expert legal advice just in case.
If you have sustained an injury from an accident that you believe was due to the negligence of the council or local authority, and you want to claim against your local council for accident compensation, there are a number of steps to take to gather evidence that will support your claim, such as:
- Witnesses – Get contact details of any bystanders and witnesses so that you can obtain witness statements that will back up your claim. Also, if there is CCTV footage available of the accident, get a copy of this too. For example, if you sustained a neck injury due to a bookcase falling on you in a public library, any witnesses to the accident could back up your recollection of events. Witness statements and CCTV footage are invaluable sources of evidence of your accident and injury occurring.
- Evidence of Liability – Gather evidence that will prove that the council is liable for your accident. Their negligence could be due to numerous reasons. Following on with the example above, the council may not have fixed the bookshelf to the wall properly, or not maintained it as regularly as they should of, or it may be that health and safety standards regarding shelf stacking (in this case with books) may not have been adhered to and too much weight may have been added to the shelf causing it to collapse. With either possible reason, the council may be found to have been negligent.
- Medical Evidence – With any injury, medical assistance should be sought firstly for health reasons and to make sure you receive the treatment you need, but also so that your injury is documented. Medical records serve as proof of your injury and its severity. Again, following with the example above, if the injured party went to the hospital by ambulance with their neck injury, they may have needed an x-ray and would have seen a doctor who would’ve written up a medical report of the injury diagnosis and its severity, any treatment needed and future prognosis. The x-ray result and medical report can be used as evidence of your injury.
When making compensation claims against the council, you need to prove that the injury you sustained was due to an accident caused by the council’s negligence. Without proof that the council are liable, you may not be considered to be deserving of the potential compensation award amount. With compensation claims for an injury, the severity of the injury will be what determines, overall, the compensation amount paid out and this will depend on the type of injury sustained. Some of the most common injuries to occur due to the negligence of the council are:
- Slip, trip and fall injuries – These may include arm, leg, hip and foot injuries for example that may be the result of a poorly maintained path, or maybe inadequately signed dangers of maintenance work taking place. Claim against council pavement problems are very common.
- Injuries whilst at work – Injuries sustained whilst working for the council among many things may include back injuries due to carrying something too heavy, or because of poor equipment training. A lack of training for health and safety purposes can be considered as being negligent of the rules and regulations set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act.
- Road traffic accidents – Injuries such as whiplash caused due to potholes in the road or due to malfunctioning traffic lights causing collisions are just some of the examples.
- Poor maintenance – Injuries due to poorly maintained council-owned property and equipment, such as playground equipment that may break when in use, or council-run school boiler and pipe problems causing burns for example.
There are many injuries that potentially could be sustained if the council are negligent in their duty of care to provide safe public areas and suitable work conditions and training. If you have an injury and you believe the council were at fault, contact us at Legal Helpline to find out how we can help.
Generally speaking, any claim against the local authority due to an injury tends to be because of negligence on their part. Depending on the circumstances of your injury and whether it can be proven that the local authority was at fault, will determine whether or not you have a legitimate case for making a personal injury claim which will result in you receiving compensation.
In order for the local authority to be proven as being negligent, it must be shown that they either ignored required health and safety standards or they have failed to act upon particular health and safety standard issue within a reasonable amount of time when brought to their attention or that they have failed to ensure sufficient regular maintenance checks are carried out on any council-owned land, property or equipment.
An example of negligence could be that the local authority failed to maintain a pavement resulting in broken and uneven slabs, or pavement may have not been laid accurately causing it to be uneven which could then cause someone to trip and fall and get injured. In which case, the injured party could then make a compensation claim as the local authority has neglected their duty of care to people using the pavement.
Another example may be that someone may have suffered severe burns due to a bursting hot water pipe in a public toilet. The pipe may have either been insufficiently checked and maintained or could have been installed incorrectly and not inspected properly at the end of the installation, and so again, the local authority may be found negligent in their duty of care.
However, if the local authority had regularly inspected, checked and maintained the pipework correctly in accordance with Health and Safety rules and regulations, then they will not be seen as liable as they have done everything they can to prevent this type of accident from occurring. Unfortunately, accidents can happen regardless of health and safety rules being adhered to properly.
If you are an employee of the council and you have been injured whilst at work, making compensation claims against the council will differ slightly as you will be making an ‘accident at work’ claim rather than a general compensation claim that a private individual would make against the council. However, you would still need to prove, just as in other claims cases, that the council were negligent in some way and so to blame for your accident causing you to be injured.
An example of a claim an employee may make which in actual fact would be illegitimate would be if the employee were to make a claim for back pain due to falling off of their chair because they had lent too far back. In doing so, they were going against their employer’s advice and guidelines, and so therefore their claim may well be dismissed as it was they themselves that acted in a negligent manner to the health and safety procedures in place.
As an example of a legitimate claim, however, if a gardener employed by the council were to be injured by another council employee whilst taking care of the public gardens, they might be able to make a compensation claim. Depending on the circumstances, it may be that the gardener was injured due to insufficient training given to the other employee regarding using gardening equipment and tools. Therefore, the council could be found liable for negligence due to their failure to provide adequate relevant and correct health and safety procedure training.
Another example of a possible claim that could in turn be legitimate or illegitimate depending on the circumstances, is if a council employee were to trip and sustain an ankle injury due to an uneven council pavement, they could start a council or local authority claim.
If the council have failed to either initially lay the pavement evenly and correctly, or have failed to maintain the correct safe condition on the pavement, then they would be seen as negligent in their duty of care and therefore liable and the claim would be legitimate. However, if the council had installed and maintained the pavement to the correct health and safety standards, then they would not necessarily be liable and so the case may be illegitimate.
The council and claimant relationship in these circumstances are very similar in most cases to that of a claimant and an employer in the private sector as many of the factors that apply are the same.
One of the most important deciding factors as to how much compensation you may receive from the council after being injured is the severity of the injury. Getting a medical diagnosis is important in this case to give an accurate and fair outlook on the severity of the injury and its longevity. In most cases, the severity will fall into three different categories:
- Minor – These injuries may include soft tissue injuries or temporary restriction of movement. Although painful and distressing, these injuries heal quickly and leave no real long term effects and so attract the smaller sums of compensation.
- Moderate – These injuries may include long term mobility issues with neck and back pain or possibly loss of function of one of your legs. Larger sums of compensation will be given for these injuries and their severity is worse, however, although the injuries are considered long term, the condition of the claimant’s injuries will lessen over time often without too much or any medical intervention.
- Severe – Injuries such as permanent paralysis, loss of sight, and amputation for example will have a huge negative impact on someone’s life and well-being and so understandably will attract the higher end of the compensation award bracket.
With the help of our Claims Management Company, making compensation claims against the council could not be simpler. Once you have gathered as much evidence as you are able, as mentioned earlier in the guide this would usually include a medical report, witness statements and any photographic or CCTV evidence that will back up your version of events in a court of law, you can give us a call to discuss the next steps.
When you call us we will offer you a free consultation where we can talk about the circumstances around your accident and make a decision as to whether we believe you have a legitimate case to claim for compensation from the council. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions regarding making your claim so that you feel more informed and confident about proceeding.
If we feel your case does not give a legitimate cause for claiming compensation, however, we will be honest and tell you as such as we wouldn’t want to build your hopes up of receiving compensation if we don’t believe it can be successful.
When we are satisfied that you are indeed entitled to make a claim, with your agreement, we can then proceed to put things in motion and bring your case to court.
We may also offer you a local medical free of charge if we feel it may benefit your claim, but that would be discussed should the need arise.
We can then move forward with your claim, gathering extra evidence as we go to give you the best possible outcome we could hope for.
When using your council for damages, you can include any extra expenses you may have incurred as a direct result of your injury. Most people assume you can only claim for medical costs and direct loss of earnings, but there are a number of other items that can be included as long as you can prove that they are directly related to your injury, such as:
- General Damages – These relate to the pain and suffering, physical and emotional, you have endured due to the injury you have sustained including.
- Medical Bills – Any medical costs such as care costs or prescription fees, for example, can be put in your claim.
- Travel Costs – Any extra travel costs incurred such as travelling to medical appointments etc may be included. Travel costs also include costs that you may have had to pay due to needing to make any vehicle adaptions due to the nature of your injury.
- Care Claim – If you have needed help around the home or needed someone to care for you, they can make a care claim to claim back any financial losses they may have incurred through taking time off of work or any travel costs they may have paid to travel to you.
- Loss of Earnings/Work Benefits – Any loss of earnings can be included. Also, any potential future loss may also be added to the claim along with any financial work benefits that have been negatively affected due to your injury.
Although these will make up a large part of your compensation award, it needs to be remembered that the final award given will, in the main, depend upon the type of injury you have sustained and its severity.
You may want more information about the amount of compensation you could receive from a successful claim against a local council. General damages compensation can be based on factors including:
- The extent of your injury
- Whether you’ve experienced multiple injuries
- How badly the injury has negatively impacted your life
The Judicial College Guidelines can give you a better idea of your potential compensation amount. The figures below have been taken from the latest guidelines, published in 2022. The information has been supplied using previous successful court claims payouts from Wales and England.
|Injury Type||Severity||Description||Bracket of Compensation|
|Hips/Pelvis||Severe (ii)||Injuries in this bracket include pelvic fracture dislocation involving ischial and pubic rami causing impotence.||£61,910 to £78,400|
|Hips/Pelvis||Moderate (i)||Significant hip or pelvis injury that does not create any major permanent disability.||£26,590 to £39,170|
|Hips/Pelvis||Lesser Injuries (ii)||Soft tissue injuries that are minor that lead to a complete recovery.||Up to £3,950|
|Eye||(d) Loss of One Eye||The compensation award will be determined by factors like age and psychological impact of the injury.||£54,830 to £65,710|
|Shoulder||Severe||This injury often involves the brachial plexus and can be experienced as part of a neck injury.||£19,200 to £48,030|
|Back||Moderate (i)||Injuries in this bracket include a prolapsed intervertebral disc that requires surgery.||£27,760 to £38,780|
|Neck||Moderate (i)||Dislocations and fractures that cause immediate symptoms that are severe in nature.||£24,990 to £38,490
|Neck||Moderate (iii)||Injuries that have exacerbated a pre-existing condition over less than five years.||£7,890 to £13,740
|Spleen||(a)||Loss of spleen where there is a continued risk of internal disorders and infections due to immune system damage.||£20,800 to £26,290
|Chest||(f)||Injuries that cause collapsed lungs. However, an uncomplicated, complete recovery is made.||£2,190 to £5,320|
Remember that it isn’t just physical injuries you can claim for. Suing for emotional distress in the UK is also possible as part of a personal injury claim. As with any claim, you would need to show that your injury was caused by negligence.
Continue reading to learn more about special damages compensation. If you prefer, you can contact our team for free legal advice using the details above.
Evidence For Special Damages
When suing the council, you may be awarded other sums too if you have had to spend money on things related to your injuries. As mentioned earlier in this article, these figures could include things like a loss of earnings and medical expenses.
However, simply saying that these costs and/or losses took place will not be enough for you to be awarded them. You will need to provide evidence. Some examples involve:
- Receipts – this could prove any travel expenses for the likes of train tickets and other travels costs. There are many things that you may have to pay for that you wouldn’t have had to if you hadn’t been injured.
- Payslips – these can help prove any lost income you experienced.
- Prescription slips – could show the cost of any painkillers, antibiotics, or other medication you had to pay for.
Get in touch for more information on what evidence you’ll need to present when suing the council for negligence.
Legal Helpline offers a No Win No Fee service for compensation claims against the council. This essentially means that if we were to take on your case for you but were unsuccessful in securing you a compensation award, we would not charge you anything for our legal costs, you would not pay a penny.
Legal costs can run very high, especially if a case takes longer to be settled either in or out of court. For someone with limited finances, this could especially be a real problem and one that could prevent them from suing their local council, even though they may well be deserving of a compensation award. We believe though that everyone should stand a fair chance to claim for the compensation they are entitled to if they have suffered due to someone else’s negligence.
This is why we offer the No Win No Fee service, with this there is no financial outlay, and there is no gamble of any current finances. If we are successful, we simply take our fees as an agreed percentage of the award amount when it is paid.
No Win No Fee means no financial outlay and no financial gamble and so no added financial stress.
Any local authority or council who is taken to court will have good legal representation that will do their best to get your claim dismissed, therefore we strongly recommend that you seek legal representation yourself, such as a Legal Helpline solicitor, to give you the best chance of success.
Legal Helpline is a Claims Management Company that has many experiences with making council or local authority claims. We have a brilliant track record for making successful claims, often securing the maximum payout amount possible for our clients.
We are a friendly, reliable and hard-working team that endeavour to do our best for our client and get them the compensation that they are entitled to. We fight on behalf of our clients and work incredibly hard to see justice prevail. Our desire to offer the No Win No Fee service shows commitment to our clients and gives the belief that we will do our utmost to secure them the highest compensation award we can for them. If we didn’t feel capable, we couldn’t offer this service as we wouldn’t be able to afford to.
We will work tirelessly, quickly and efficiently on your behalf so that you don’t need to suffer any more stress and can concentrate on your recovery.
FAQ About How To Sue The Council For Negligence
Here are some frequently asked questions about compensation claims against the council.
How is pain and suffering compensation calculated?
Compensation for pain and suffering is calculated according to the extent of the claimant’s suffering. To determine this, you’ll require a medical assessment with an independent expert. Here, your quality of life and how it’s been affected by your accident will be evaluated.
Can I sue the council for falling down a pothole?
Typically, local councils can be held liable for potholes or other surface defects if they’re more than an inch in size. According to Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980, they’re required to maintain pavements and roads under their control to a safe standard. However, compensation claims against the council are hard to make and many are unsuccessful. Therefore, please call Legal Helpline today for expert assistance in your pursuit of a payout.
Can you sue the council for stress?
You may still be able to claim against the council even if you were not physically injured. It’s possible that you could still be owned for your mental health being negatively impacted. Stress over long periods could result in things such as depression and anxiety. If the stress is caused by the council’s negligence then you could be owed compensation.
By contacting Legal Helpline today, you are taking your first positive step to a successful compensation claim against the council. Just call us on 0161 696 9685 and we will do our very best to help and advise you on the best possible route of making your claim.
Are you a council or local authority employee and have been injured while at work? The link below details the process of making a work accident claim.
The council may be responsible for your safety in a public park.
Find out how claims involving an injured child can differ.
Visit the NHS website for any medical advice.
See this government guide on claiming compensation following an accident.
If the council is responsible for your injuries by way of not ensuring their roads are properly maintained, you may be able to claim against them for anxiety and other psychological impacts.
This article shows an example case study of just one possible instance regarding how much a claim against the council could be worth.
Thanks for reading our guide on making compensation claims against the council.