A Guide To Public Liability Claims Against A Council

This is a helpful guide exploring public liability claims against a council. We will explain when someone injured in a public place accident could be eligible to make a personal injury claim, and discuss some of the evidence which could strengthen your potential case.

public liability claims against council

How To Make Public Liability Claims Against A Council

Additionally, we explore the legislation that outlines the duty of care local council’s owe members of the public. We also provide examples of accidents that could occur in a public place if this duty is not upheld, as well as looking at some injuries that could potentially be sustained as a result.

Further on, the guide will look at compensation which can be awarded for the pain and suffering and financial losses that could be caused by being harmed.

Finally, we will discuss how working with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel could benefit both you and your claim.

If you have any questions about public liability claims, please chat with our advisors for a free consultation. You can reach the team straightaway by:

  • Calling 0161 696 9685
  • Using our only query form to contact us.
  • Clicking the live chat option at the foot of the page.

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Who Could Make A Public Liability Claim Against A Council?

The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 applies a duty of care to occupiers of public spaces. Section 2 of the Act 1957 outlines the occupier’s responsibility to take steps to keep visitors reasonably safe on the premises. This duty of care extends to local councils. 

Additionally, Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 places a duty of care on councils to maintain, inspect and repair public highway networks in a timely fashion so they are in a safe condition for users. Local authorities will generally be responsible for publicly owned roads in their region.

If a council breaches their duty of care, there is a potential for accidents that could lead to injury.

A person injured in a public accident must give proof of the following criteria to start a personal injury claim:

  • The occupier owed them a duty of care.
  • They breached their duty of care.
  • As a result of the breach, they were caused a physical injury and/or mental harm.

Limitation Periods To Claim Against Councils

A time limit is applied to personal injury claims, as noted in Limitation Act 1980. Generally, you will have three years to start a claim from the date of your accident. There are, however, certain cases where an exception could be made.

Please speak with our advisors if you would like to know more about time limits for public liability claims against a council. They can also advise further on eligibility criteria. 

Types Of Public Liability Claims Against A Council

A public place accident could occur in many different places, including public parks, libraries, leisure centres, pavements and roads. Examples of how these could occur, leading to injury, can include:

  • You sustain an ankle or wrist injury after tripping on a pavement because of a lack of timely repairs to a loose paving slab. 
  • You suffer a pelvis or hip injury from a slip, trip or fall on an icy path that wasn’t gritted.
  • While crossing the road, you fall over a pothole, that wasn’t fixed in a timely manner, and sustain a severely injured back in a pedestrian accident
  • A public park accident occurs, such as hurting your leg when tripping on a broken pavement.

It’s important to note, it’s not always possible to make a claim for injuries sustained in a public place. You need to prove that a duty of care was owed to you, and as a result of this not being upheld, you sustained harm.

If you have evidence that your local council breached their duty of care, and caused you harm, please speak with our advisors for a free consultation. They can discuss public liability claims against a council in more detail.

Proving Public Liability Claims Against A Council

It is important to gather evidence that supports a personal injury claim as it can help demonstrate that a breach of duty caused you harm. As such, those making public liability claims against a council could benefit from gathering:

  • Witness contact information so that statements could be taken later on.
  • Medical records, including results from any tests carried out, and scan copies.
  • Video footage, whether from CCTV or a personal device, showing the accident and its cause. 
  • A diary in which you keep track of treatments and symptoms. This can help to show your physical and mental condition after the accident.
  • Photographs showing the immediate scene of the accident, plus any visible injuries caused.

If you have a valid claim and choose to seek legal representation via a public liability solicitor from our panel, they could help you to collect evidence. Please get in touch with our advisors if you would like to learn more about the services a solicitor from our panel could offer.

Estimating Settlements For Council Accident Claims

There are two heads of claim that can be included in a personal injury settlement; general and special damages. Firstly, general damages compensate for the physical pain and mental suffering you have experienced due to your injuries.

Legal professionals, such as personal injury solicitors, often use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them assign values to injuries, alongside medical evidence. We have used some of the guideline award brackets from the JCG to create the following table.

However, the JCG figures are a guide and not an exact representation of what you would receive if your claim were to succeed. 

Compensation table

LegSevere (ii)£54,830 to £87,890The person experiences permanent problems with mobility from injuries.
ArmInjuries Resulting in Permanent and Substantial Disablement£39,170 to £59,860Serious fractures to one or both forearms that causes a significant permanent residual disability that is either functional or cosmetic.
NeckSevere (iii)£45,470 to £55,990Fractures, dislocations or severe soft tissue damage and/or ruptured tendons, leading to chronic conditions and significant permanent disability.
NeckModerate (i)£24,990 to £38,490Serious soft tissue injuries to the neck and back, or fractures or dislocations which could require spinal fusion.
AnkleSevere£31,310 to £50,060Where an extensive treatment period is necessary, or pins and plates have been inserted, plus a severely limited ability to walk.
HeadLess Severe£15,320 to £43,060The injured person makes a good recovery and is able to work and have a normal social life. There may still be issues like poor concentration and memory which are persistent.
BackModerate (ii)£12,510 to £27,760This bracket includes ligament and muscle disturbance.
Pelvis and HipModerate (ii)£12,590 to £26,590Hip replacement or other surgery has been needed.
WristLess Severe£12,590 to £24,500Injuries still cause some permanent disability, i.e. a degree of persistent stiffness and/or pain.
ArmSimple£6,610 to £19,200Forearm fractures that are simple in nature.

Further Damages Which You Could Claim

Special damages compensate you for financial losses caused due to your injuries. Examples of the costs you could claim back under special damages are:

  • A loss of earnings if you miss work due to your injuries.
  • Domestic care costs, for care that has been required at home.
  • Prescription fees, for example, for painkillers you are prescribed for your injuries.
  • Travel costs. This could include bus travel to hospital or paying for transport to and from work when you could normally drive or walk.

You can present evidence to show that you were out of pocket for reasons related to the injuries, such as wage slips, receipts and invoices.

For more information on compensation in public liability claims against a council, please contact an advisor on the number above.

Make Public Liability Claims Against A Council With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

If you have a valid claim, you could choose to work with a solicitor from our panel. In doing so, they could provide services including help gathering evidence, building your case, and presenting your claim in full within the relevant time frame. 

They could offer these services under a type of No Win No Fee contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under a CFA, you would not pay for your solicitor’s services:

  • Upfront,
  • During the claim,
  • If your claim fails.

A fee is taken for the solicitor’s services if your claim is successful. The success fee your solicitor recoups is a percentage of your compensation. This percentage is capped by the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.

Talk To Our Team

If you have questions about compensation claims against a council, please speak with our helpful advisors. Our advisors can give you a free and obligation-free consultation. They could connect you with a solicitor from our panel if you have a valid claim and would like legal representation.

You can get in touch with our advisors by:

Further Guidance On Claims Against A Local Authority

For more guides from us:

As some helpful resources:

Thank you for reading our guide on public liability claims against a council. If you are looking for more information, please do not hesitate to speak with our advisors.

Written by EM

Edited by MMI