What is a Public Liability Claim?

Worker placing wet floor sign after mopping

The term public liability refers to the owner (or owners) of a public area being aware of – and legally compliant with – their overriding responsibilities for health and safety when said area is being used by the general public for a multitude of reasons. And moreover, ensuring that their duty of care is acknowledged and met.

By doing this, the responsible party is then legally prepared to compensate for an individual’s misfortune in the event that they experience a personal injury through no fault of their own, while frequenting said public property.

Businesses and organisations are strongly advised to arrange public liability insurance policies for this very reason. To ensure that all parties involved in any future public liability claim are compensated for their physical or psychological injury, which might result from an incident taking place within their property.

Types of Personal Injury Prevalent In Cases of Public Liability

Typically made by a member of the public who has suffered from an injury caused by an accident happening in a public space, public liability claims tend to be made against individuals, companies or local authorities for the most part. Essentially, anywhere which is interacted with by the general public, including restaurants, retail establishments, gyms and public transport hubs.

Looking at the types of personal injury which could potentially befall victims who go on to make a public liability claim, and slips, trips and falls routinely head up a list of possible causes. Dangerous and uneven pavements and walkways, the presence of potholes and untreated surfaces on footpaths during the winter account for countless public liability claims.

Incidents can play out in both outdoor and indoor scenarios. For example, supermarket car parks and in the shops themselves can prove hazardous to the unwitting. Where an area within an aisle in the store has perhaps not been cordoned off to customers, in the aftermath of a spillage.

Various Everyday Settings Can Lead to Public Liability Claims

Elsewhere, schools, public car parks, defective stairwells in public properties and tree roots protruding from uneven public thoroughfares are all relevant instances where public liability can be cited, and owners legally challenged from an insurance viewpoint.

Meanwhile, members of the public being struck by objects falling from a height, or sustaining injuries from sharp objects not made safe by the responsible party, along with various obstructions in public places, all amount to public liability. As do cases where someone is exposed to hazardous substances or suffers as a consequence of faulty or poorly maintained equipment.

Public liability claims can often encompass the more bizarre episodes too. It was reported a couple of years back that a passenger received nearly £30k in compensation from Network Rail, after slipping on pigeon poo at London’s Paddington Station.

Criteria For Public Liability Claims

Public liability is determined by responsibility, or proven absence of. Should an individual suffer an injury in a public space because in the eyes of the law a reasonable level of safety hasn’t been met, then this could represent grounds for a public liability claim.

Ultimately, any setting where members of the public have access to go about their business or pleasure, has to be maintained to safe standards. Failure to upkeep this, leaves owners exposed to any follow-up personal injury claims.

Irrespective of why an individual is there or what they’re doing on a public premises, if they’re permitted to be there, then the business, organisation or public body that oversees said area, is culpable in the event of an accident.

How Public Liability Claims Differ from Employer Liability Claims

Public liability claims are pursued by people who sustain an injury through an accident which takes place in a public place, whereby the owner of that indoor or outdoor space is legally responsible for the health and safety of the general public who are present.

Conversely, employers’ liability refers to staff members who receive injuries as a result of accidents in a workplace environment, or whose health has been significantly impacted by poor employment practices or conditions.

Here at DIYPI we are experts at providing advice, support and guidance on all matters relating to public liability claims; the process and the seeking of compensation following an accident in public. Our team of personal injury experts will help you determine that another party was responsible for your injury, a journey which starts by getting in touch with us today.

Thank you, your claim has been successfully sent to us.

Our experts will be in touch with you soon to discuss your claim.