How To Claim Compensation For An Accident In A Public Place?

By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 4th December 2023. If you’ve suffered an injury in an accident in a public place you might be searching for a personal injury solicitor who could handle your claim or someone to tell you whether you’re entitled to compensation. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Here at Accident Claims UK, we have many years of experience in the industry helping those affected by negligence. So, if you would like to discuss your potential case in greater detail, why not reach out and speak to our team?

One of our advisers would be more than happy to talk with you. The number to call is 0800 073 8801.

accident in a public place

How To Claim Compensation For An Accident In A Public Place

Below, you can learn more about public liability claims, including compensation payouts, eligibility criteria, evidence needed to prove a claim, and some frequently asked questions.

Select a Section

  1. Can I Make A Claim For An Accident In A Public Area?
  2. What Is Classed As A Public Place?
  3. Who Could Be Responsible For Accidents In Public Places
  4. Examples Of Accidents In Public Places
  5. What Evidence Do I Need To Claim Compensation After An Accident In A Public Place?
  6. Compensation Payouts For Public Place Accidents
  7. No Win No Fee Claims For An Accident In A Public Place
  8. Useful Links Relating To An Accident In A Public Place

Can I Make A Claim For An Accident In A Public Area?

If you are wondering whether you could claim compensation for an accident in a public place, there are certain eligibility criteria your claim would need to meet.

Firstly, you’d need to prove that someone had a duty of care towards you. Then, you’d need to prove that there was a breach of this duty of care. Thirdly, you would need to prove that your injury resulted from the breach.

If you have had an accident in a public area, the controller of the space could be at fault for it. For example, this could be a supermarket owner, or a local council or authority. Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, the controller of the space must take steps to make sure public places are safe to use for their intended purpose. This is known as a duty of care.

If they fail to uphold their duty of care, and you suffer an injury as a result, you could be eligible to claim compensation. Contact our team of advisors today to learn more for free.

What Is Classed As A Public Place?

Before we go into detail about claiming for an accident in a public place, it is important to understand what is classed as such a space.

A public place is somewhere that the public are allowed to access, whether on a paid or unpaid basis. Some examples of public places include:

  • Supermarkets and department stores.
  • Museums.
  • Hospitals.
  • Hotels.
  • Car parks.
  • Public parks.
  • Restaurants.
  • Council buildings such as libraries and registry offices.
  • Gyms and leisure centres.
  • Sports centres and arenas.
  • Roads and pavements.

If you suffer injuries in a public place due to the party in control of that space breaching their duty of care towards you, you could be eligible to make a public liability claim.

To find out more about accidents in public places or to check your eligibility to claim, please contact an advisor.

Who Could Be Responsible For Accidents In Public Places

An occupier refers to the person or party that is in control of a public space. As previously stated, they have a duty of care to ensure your reasonable safety while you are using that space for its intended purposes. If you were injured in an accident in a public place due to an occupier breaching their duty of care, you could be able to make a public liability claim.

Some examples of parties that may be classed an an occupier include:

  • Local authorities, such as councils, are typically in control of places like public parks, roads and pavements.
  • Business owners who own their own premises are typically responsible for ensuring they don’t pose a risk to the public.
  • Tenants of shops in shopping centres may be responsible for the premises they rent from the shopping centre owner.

If you have been injured in a public place and are unsure who you should make your personal injury claim against, you can contact a member of our team to discuss your case.

Examples Of Accidents In Public Places

There are various ways that you could be injured while in public. Some examples of how accidents in public places could occur include:

  • A supermarket fails to clearly signpost a spillage, causing you to slip and suffer an ankle injury.
  • The equipment in a public park isn’t regularly maintained. When your child sits on a swing, the chain holding it up breaks, and they suffer a pelvis injury.
  • There is insufficient lighting in the stairwell of a library, meaning you are unable to see where you are going. Due to this, you fall down the stairs and suffer a head and back injury.
  • While walking down a public pathway, you trip on a raised paving slab. The council had been aware of this defective paving but had failed to resolve this issue within a reasonable timeframe. You suffer a knee injury due to tripping on this paving slab.
  • A pavement trip hazard. For example, if the local authority was aware that the pavement was hazardous but did not take action to make it safe, such as putting up a sign until it could be repaired, you could sustain injuries.

These are only a few examples of accidents that could occur. You must remember that in order to have a valid public liability compensation claim, you must be able to prove that your injuries were caused by the occupier of that space, breaching their duty of care.

Contact our team of advisors today to discuss your specific case and check your eligibility to make a personal injury claim.

What Evidence Do I Need To Claim Compensation After An Accident In A Public Place?

In order to make a claim, it is crucial to gather as much evidence as possible. Thankfully, there are various forms of evidence you can collect to support your accident in a public place claim, such as:

  • Photographs: This involves taking photos at the scene, as well as pictures of your injuries, if they are visible, of course. 
  • Notes: You should also note everything that happened as soon as you can so that you do not forget anything important. 
  • Contact Information: Get the contact details of anyone that witnessed the incident unfold.

Steps To Consider After An Accident In A Public Place

It is also wise to report the accident to the perpetrator. For example, you could inform the local council or the supermarket owner if the accident happened on their property. By registering the accident to the perpetrator, they are required to document the incident in an accident log. This can help to strengthen your case.

Finally, keep documentation of all of the costs you have been subject to because of your injuries, such as:

  • Travel costs
  • Loss of income
  • Replacement costs
  • Medical expenses

Compensation Payouts For Public Place Accidents

If you’re eligible to make a public injury claim, you might wish to know how much your payout could be if your claim is successful.

Successful personal injury claims could lead to payouts that include two forms of compensation: general damages and special damages. General damages compensate you for the injury you’ve suffered and the pain you’ve endured because of it. We’ll discuss special damages further below.

All claims are assessed on their own unique facts and circumstances, and every claim is different. However, to gain insight into how much compensation could be appropriate, solicitors could refer to the JCG (Judicial College Guidelines). This publication provides guidance on compensation for different injuries at different levels of seriousness. 

The table below contains figures from the 2022 edition of the JCG. However, this is only guidance.


Type of injury that has been sustained How severe is the injury? Typical payout amount Notes
Multiple injuries with financial losses. Serious Up to £1,000,000+ Multiple serious injuries leading to suffering, pain and financial losses such as care costs, home adaptations, and medical expenses, for example.
Brain damage (b) Moderately severe £219,070 to £282,010 In these cases, the injured person will be very seriously disabled either physically or cognitively, and will be dependant on others to a substantial degree.
Brain damage (c) Moderate (i) £150,110 to £219,070 This bracket will cover in which concentration and memory are affected, the ability to work is reduced, where there is a small risk of epilepsy, and any dependence on others is very limited.
Leg injuries (a) Severe (i) £240,790 to £282,010 This bracket is appropriate where both legs are amputated above the knee, or one below the knee and one above at a high level.
Neck injury (a) Severe (i) In the region of
In these instances, the injured person will have little to no movement in the neck.
Neck injury (b) Moderate (i) £24,990 to £38,490 This bracket will usually be appropriate in cases such as fractures or dislocations which may require a spinal fusion
Knee injuries (a) Severe (i) £69,730 to £96,210 Injuries of this bracket result in considerable pain and loss of function as well as gross ligamentous damage and the development of osteoarthritis
Knee injuries (b) Moderate (i) £14,840 to £26,190 This bracket will include injuries resulting in minor instability, wasting, weakness or other mild disability.
Back injury (b) Moderate (ii) £12,510 to £27,760 This bracket can include injuries such as crush fractures, traumatic spondylolisthesis and a damages or prolapsed intervertebral disc amongst other things


Further to this, if you can provide evidence that you’ve incurred financial expense or loss due to your injuries, you could receive special damages. Special damages could compensate you for the likes of:

  • Travel costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Care costs
  • Loss of income

For further guidance on compensation payouts for public liability claims, please contact an advisor on the number at the top of this page.

No Win No Fee Claims For An Accident In A Public Place

For many, finding affordable legal representation can be a stressful and daunting experience. Still, here at Accident Claims UK, we believe that everybody should have access to legal representation and the opportunity to seek the justice they deserve. It is for that reason why our personal injury solicitors operate on a No Win No Fee basis.

With us, all of our claims are 100 per cent No Win, No Fee. For those who are unfamiliar with such legal services, we will explain how this works. When a legal service is provided under the No Win No Fee agreement, this means you’d have access to the following benefits:

  • There are no upfront payments. Instead, you will fund the legal service once the claim has been settled. 
  • You will never be out of pocket if you make a claim. 
  • Under the agreement, you are offered full financial protection — meaning that you won’t find yourself in a situation whereby your case has lost yet you still have a solicitor to pay.

The legal fees will be subtracted from the compensation you have been awarded, and this will be a percentage of the payout. Of course, you will have agreed on this with your solicitor beforehand, and it will be put in writing – meaning they cannot take whatever they want. And, if you do not win any compensation, this means that the solicitor does not take any payment from you.

There are other advantages worth thinking about too. This includes the fact that anyone can claim, irrespective of what their current financial situation is. Not only this, but you know that your solicitor is going to be accountable for the service they are providing you with. 

For more information on No Win No Fee personal injury solicitors, or to start your claim for an accident in a public place, contact our team today:

  • Telephone0800 073 8801
  • Online Form: Please click here to enquire online using our online form.
  • Live Chat: Click the icon on the right side of the page to speak with an adviser.
  • Email: why not send us an email to Our email is operated on Monday – Friday, and we aim to get back to you within three hours.

Useful Links Relating To An Accident In A Public Place

We are now in the final section of our accident in a public place guide. We hope you have found it useful. Now that you have read our guide, you might consider searching for additional resources to further your understanding of the claims process. If that is the case, then look no further.

Below, we have included some additional resources for you to browse through and further your understanding.

More Useful Guides on Accidents in a Public Place

Slip, Trip and Fall Guide – learn more about how to claim compensation for slip, trip and fall accidents that weren’t your fault. 

Pavement Accident Claims Guide – take a look at our guide to learn how a personal injury solicitor would offer to handle your pavement accident case.

Local Council Compensation Claim – has the city council breached their duty of care and caused you harm? Why not read our guide to learn more about claims of this nature. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – click the link to learn what you need to know about managing public safety, the risks, and the measures.

Other Public Injury Claim Guides