Can I Claim Compensation if I am Injured in a Public Place?

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This is a question we are often asked and the answer in most cases is ‘yes’ if you were not to blame.

The reason for this is that the owners and occupiers of public places are under a legal obligation to ensure you are reasonably safe when visiting them, for example by instituting appropriate safeguards, carrying out necessary repairs and warning you of known dangers.

This responsibility is imposed under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and applies to local authorities, schools, hospitals, leisure centres, supermarkets, cinemas, shops, businesses and even private homes where members of the public are invited to call or stay.

Read on to find out more.

What are the most common causes of injuries in public places?

In our experience, the most common causes of occupiers liability claims are:

  • potholes and defective pavements;
  • uneven surfaces;
  • spillages;
  • steps that are not signed;
  • stairs with no handrails;
  • steep drops that are not adequately fenced;
  • defective equipment; or
  • substandard food and drink products.

How do the majority of public place accidents happen?

Typically accidents occur when someone slips, trips or falls, burns or scalds themselves, is crushed by a falling object, is electrocuted, ingests something which gives them food poisoning or is injured as a result of an accident at work.

What do I need to know about bringing an occupiers liability claim?

The most important thing to be aware of is the need to act quickly, firstly because you will stand a much better chance of success if you make a claim while events are still fresh in your mind, and secondly because there are strict time limits for bringing a personal injury claim, which can be as short as three years in the majority of cases.

Beyond this, you should bear in mind that you will only be successful in your claim if you can show that the owner or occupier of the place where you were hurt failed to do something they could fairly have been expected to do to ensure your reasonable safety and that as a result of this you have suffered harm.

You will need evidence to do this, so try to make a contemporaneous note of what happened, take photographs of the accident site, speak to witnesses and make a note of their details, get a copy of your medical records if you needed hospital or GP treatment and retain receipts for any expenses you incur.

You should also ask for a copy of the entry made into the owner or occupier’s accident book if the injury was reported at the time it occurred.

Assuming my claim is successful, how much compensation am I likely to receive?

How much compensation you get will depend on how serious your injuries are, whether you are likely to recover from them and the impact they have had on your life and may continue to have going forward.

For example, compensation for a minor fracture to your wrist could result in a payment of between £2,900 to £3,700, whereas a major fracture could secure you an award in excess of £50,000.

On top of this you may be able to claim compensation for property damage, for example where you broke your glasses in a fall, as well as loss of earnings, out of pocket expenses, rehabilitation and mobility aids and any long term care costs.

What should I do if I want your help?

If you have been injured in an accident in a public place and would like to know more about the process of making a claim, you can contact us now on 0800 1956412 for a free, no obligation chat about your case.  Alternatively you can send an email to Step Legal Solicitors at and we will contact you.

Our experienced solicitors are personal injury specialists with an impressive track record in achieving great results and in the majority of cases we can advise you under a no win, no fee agreement which means that there will be no financial risk to you if your claim is unsuccessful.

Click here to read about our latest occupiers liability win.

The clock is ticking, so do not delay – contact our lawyers in Crewe today to see if a claim may possible.