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Public Liability (PL)

Public liability related injury claims are on the rise despite the swathes of health and safety guidelines imposed on local authorities and owners of private organisations.

The law makes it a duty on local authorities and owners or leaseholders of premises open to the public to ensure that those premises are safe.

If a local authority or private organisation is found to be at fault for an injury and the associated financial losses suffered by a member of the public, they may be liable for a negligent breach of a duty of care that they owe to any member of the public that has access to their premises.

Who can make a compensation claim for PL?

You could be legally entitled to claim compensation if you have suffered injury or associated financial losses in the last 3 years as a result of a negligent breach of duty by either a private organisation or local authority for which they could be liable if the injury or loss was sustained as a result of their negligence, examples of which include:

    A trip on a pothole on a road or poorly maintained pavement

    A slip or trip in a shop or supermarket due to a spillage or objects on the floor

    A poorly lit stairway or building

    A fall at a park, school or play area

The most common reasons why a local authority or private organisation may be liable for the injuries and/or associated financial losses that you have suffered in public are considered below.

Poorly maintained road or pavement

Local councils are duty-bound to regularly maintain the condition of pavements and roads within their boundaries. This involves checking them regularly for potholes, damage or risk of damage and making the necessary repairs if needed.

However, many local authorities do not fulfil their duty to do this, so many pavements and roads across the UK are defective.

Such defective surfaces can cause injuries to unsuspecting walkers, who may suffer such injuries as fractures or head and brain injuries as a result of a trip and fall because a council had failed to maintain their roads or pavements.

Slip or trip in a shop or supermarket

Private organisations, such as shops and supermarkets, have a legal duty to ensure that their premises are safe for use by members of the public. In order to do this, companies must continuously monitor any potentialslip and trip risks on their floors or hazards on shelves which could fall and cause injury, amongst other things.

Unfortunately, it is often the case that companies neglect to fulfil their duty to ensure the safety of their customers. This can involve the laziness of an employee in failing to put out a sign to warn the public that a floor is wet or poor practice if high shelves are over-stacked with heavy objects that may fall.

Slips and trips in shops and supermarkets can cause a range of injuries, from minor cuts and scrapes to serious head and brain injuries, making it of utmost importance for a company to stay vigilant to the risks within their premises to members of the public.

What if I don’t know who was to blame?

Local councils and private organisations owe a duty of care to members of the public who use their premises to ensure that their environment is safe and fit for purpose.

If you have suffered injury or associated financial loss due to a public liability incident in the last 3 years but are not sure whether the relevant local authority or private organisation should be liable or not, get in touch with us and one of our specialist PL advisors will be more than willing to discuss this with you in the hope of advising you of the best course of action.

What may I be entitled to claim for?

If you were involved in an incident in the last 3 years for which you think a local authority or private organisation could be liable, you may be able to claim for the following things:

Pain, suffering and loss of amenity

This consists of compensation for the injury aspect of your public liability injury claim and the impact of those injuries on your past, present and future domestic and social activities.

Treatment costs

Long NHS waiting lists may mean that free treatment for the injuries you may have sustained in a public liability incident is not available within a reasonable time frame.

Where this is the case, you may need to get specialist private treatment in order that your treatment may commence as soon as possible to speed up your recovery. Private care can be costly, but your claim for compensation can include the cost of all private treatment so you will not be set back because of your injuries.

Moreover, if you have to purchase painkilling medication or other aids to help your recovery, the cost of these can be recovered as part of your claim for compensation.

Future treatment costs

The cost of all treatment that you require in the future that is a direct result of the injuries you have sustained in a public liability incident maybe included in your claim so you can rely on private medical treatment with no cost to you, instead of being on a long NHS waiting list for free treatment.


If a person sustains injuries in a public liability incident, they may require assistance in carrying out of normal, everyday tasks. For example, if a person has a broken leg and requires a cast, climbing stairs and getting dressed can become extremely difficult to do.

Such situations may lead to family and friends sacrificing their time and employment in order to care for the injured person.

A compensation claim for injuries pertaining to a public liability incident can include the cost of care expenses in order to reimburse the losses suffered by friends and family through their kindness.

Loss of earnings

A person injured in a public liability incident may be unable to work as a result of their injuries.
This could lead to the injured person missing out on salary, overtime pay and bonuses for the time they have missed at work. The injured person may be forced into returning to work on reduced hours or having to quit their employment altogether.

If this is the case, the loss of earnings you have suffered can be calculated and included as part of your claim for compensation.

Loss of congenial employment

If you were injured and cannot return to your pre-accident employment, part of your claim can include an attempt to recover compensation for having to give up your chosen career, especially if you had trained for many years and at cost to be a part of that profession.

Pension loss

If injuries mean you cannot return to your pre-accident employment, you may be unable to benefit from your pension.

Where this is the case, a compensation claim can include the cost of the loss of pension you have suffered as a result of your injuries.

Disadvantage on the open labour market

If your injuries are persistent, meaning you must have a long spell away from employment or cannot perform in your chosen role as effectively as you previously had, potential employers may think you are an unattractive employment prospect, all because you have suffered injuries through no fault of your own.

If this is the case due to injuries suffered in a public liability incident, your compensation claim can include the losses related to this.

Damage to personal property

Public liability incidents may cause damage to personal property, such as clothes or mobile phones.
The cost of replacing or repairing these objects can be included as part of your claim for compensation.

Travel expenses

Injuries and damage to property sometimes require a person to travel to several places numerous times to see to these matters, such as to the premises of their health care provider or insurer.
Expenses for travel that has been made necessary by the fact that you have sustained injuries and losses due to a public liability incident can be included as part of your claim for compensation.

Quantum Legal’s No Win No Fee* Service

The Quantum Legal PL Team operate a No Win No Fee* scheme for employers’ liability claims. This means that you will not be liable for our feesif we do not succeed in obtaining compensation on your behalf for personal injury and/or associated financial losses; if we are successful in making a claim on your behalf, we shall look to the negligent party’s insurers for payment of our fees. You will also not need to pay anything up front or even before the conclusion of your claim; payment of our fees is only due once you have received the financial benefit of your claim from the third party in full and final settlement of your claim. Please call us on 01204 584062 if you require more information.

Here at Quantum Legal, we pride ourselves in putting the interests of our clients first in every service we provide.

The knowledge and experience among our PL team mean that they are perfectly placed to deal with your public liability related personal injury and financial losses claim by acting on your behalf to obtain the compensation that you deserve.

Our dedicated team of PL specialists will aim to successfully conclude your claim in the shortest time frame available and our friendly and knowledgeable staff will keep you informed of all key developments along the way.

So if you have been injured and have suffered financial losses in the last 3 years as a result of an incident in public, call the Quantum Legal PL Team on 01204 584062 to speak to one of our specialists and start your claim today!