Public and private premises
I’ve had a trip / slip / fall accident in a pub / restaurant / gym / leisure centre/ park / playgrounds / school / college / library / museum – can I make a claim for compensation? Who do I claim compensation from? Who owes the duty of care to keep me safe on a footpath, pavement or road?
Tripping, slipping and falling accidents in any of the public and privately owned buildings and places, such as those mentioned above, can easily happen and they can happen in a variety of ways. If you have had a trip, slip or fall accident you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. Leech & Co Solicitors can help you with your claim. Call us on 0161 749 9000 or click here for a call back [need call back button] to tell us what happened. Our initial advice is always free.
However, there is no automatic right to compensation for injuries suffered in these types of accidents. In order to claim compensation for your injuries and losses, you must prove three things:
- The person, company or Council that is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the building or place owed you a duty of care to keep you safe while you were in the building or place;
- That person, company or Council has breached (or broken) that duty of care;
- You have suffered injuries and losses as a result of the breach of duty.
Therefore, firstly, to make a successful claim, you must prove who owes you a duty of care on the pathway, pavement or road.
Public and privately owned buildings and places are the responsibility of their owners. This could be a person, company or the local council (for example, in the case of a park or playground). The owners are responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and repair of the buildings and places they own. This means they have a duty of care to all users to keep them in a reasonably safe condition.
N.B.1. A privately-owned building can include a private residence or garden.
N.B.2. Users of a public or privately-owned building or place can include workers employed by the owners of the buildings or places. See our section on accidents at work for full details about making a claim for workplace accidents – [need link to workplace accidents section].
Therefore, if you are the legitimate user of a public or privately-owned building or place, the owner of that building or place is likely to owe you a duty of care to keep you safe while you use it.
Secondly, to make a claim, you must prove that the owner of the building or place has breached (or broken) that duty of care to keep you safe on the premises. It will be necessary to prove the following:
- that the premises was not reasonably safe for the users i.e. that the size, nature and/or position of the defect or hazard made the premises dangerous;
- that the accident was caused by the dangerous condition of the premises.
Thirdly, if you have been able to prove that the owner of the premises owed you a duty of care and this duty has been breached, you will need to prove that this breach of duty has caused your injuries and losses. This will be done by obtaining medical and other evidence in support of the claim. Your personal injury solicitor will obtain this evidence for you. (Read more about the medical evidence you need to support your claim here: https://leech.co.uk/medical-report-claim/)
What are the potential problems with making a claim for compensation resulting from a trip, slip or fall on public or private premises?
There are various potential pitfalls with making a claim against the owner of public or private premises, but the main ones are as follows:
- If you can prove that the hazard or defect in the premises caused the trip, slip or fall, it does not necessarily mean that the owner was at fault. If the owner can prove that the defect or hazard was minor, then the premises may not be considered dangerous and therefore the owner may not be considered at fault for the accident.
For example, a raised paving slab outside of a premises that has caused a trip will not generally be considered dangerous unless it is more than an inch or so high.
- The owner is under a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for users. This means that even if a defect or hazard has caused a trip, slip or fall, the owner may be able to prove it was not at fault if it can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent it.
For example, the owner of a gym is under a duty to regularly inspect its premises and equipment for defects or hazards. How regular the inspection will depend on the particular gym and how busy it is, but if the owner can prove that the inspections were regular and reasonable, it may be able to prove that an accident that occurred between inspections was not their fault
- The owner may accept that it was at fault for the defect or hazard on the premises, but that this was not the sole cause of the trip, slip or fall accident. The owner may allege that the person who has tripped, slipped or fallen contributed to the accident and therefore the owner should not be held entirely at fault.
For example, if the owner can prove that at the time of the accident, the person who has tripped, slipped or fallen was on their phone or under the influence of alcohol or has ignored warning signs, then the owner may be able to prove that the person has contributed to the accident. In these circumstances, the person may not lose the case, although this is a possibility, but the amount of compensation may be reduced.
There are potential pitfalls to making a claim for compensation following a trip, slip or fall accident on a public highway. Therefore it is vital that you discuss the accident with a specialist personal injury lawyer so the accident circumstances can be assessed and you can be advised as to whether the claim has prospects of success in terms of being able to prove the local council was at fault.
What should I do if I have a trip, slip or fall accident in public or privately owned building or premises?
If you have an accident in a public or privately –owned premises, there are a few things you should do as quickly as possible. These are to ensure you and other users of the premises are safe, but also to help support your claim for compensation.
Read our article – https://leech.co.uk/what-to-do-trip-slip-accident/ – for full details of what to do and what not to do after a trip, slip or fall accident, but, basically, what you need to do is:
- Report the accident to staff or the person/people supervising the premises
- Make sure the area is made safe for other customers
- Request first aid assistance or an ambulance
- Take photographs of the scene and the cause of the accident or ask for CCTV footage
- Obtain details of any witnesses including staff members
- When you get home, write down a detailed account of the accident including what happened and what was said afterwards
- Go to your GP or Urgent Care / Walk-In Centre as soon as possible after the accident.
Also, what you should not do is:
- Leave without reporting the accident or asking for assistance
- Be embarrassed to report the accident
- Admit liability or discuss what caused the accident with staff members or people at the scene (your Solicitor will investigate the cause of the accident and your admission at the scene may harm the chances of a successful claim)
How do I start to make a claim for compensation for my trip, slip or fall accident?
The way to start your claim for compensation following a trip, slip or fall is to discuss the accident with a specialist personal injury lawyer who has experience of dealing with this type of claim.
At Leech & Co, we are specialist personal injury lawyers and we have dealt with claims resulting from all types of accidents in all sorts of places. We are happy to discuss your accident with you and advise you as to whether you can make a claim and the prospects of success of the claim.
Leech & Co have a long and successful track record of securing for injured people the compensation they are entitled to following trip, slip and fall accidents. We guide our clients through the process, advise them in straightforward, jargon-free language and protect their legal interest at all times. We are proud of our work and we care for our clients.
Call us on 0161 749 9000 or click here to request a call back [need call back button]. We are friendly and approachable and we will always give you time to tell us all about what has happened. Remember, our initial advice is free.
If you would quickly like to find out if you may be able to make a claim, go to our Claim Checker. [need link]
If you would quickly like to find out what your claim for compensation may be worth, go to our Claim Calculator. [need link]
Would you like to find out more about making a claim for compensation following an accident? How about “https://leech.co.uk/do-i-have-to-instruct-a-solicitor-to-deal-with-my-claim/”