Accident in a Public Place*

Council or Local Authority Accident Claims*

If you or a family member have been involved in a council or local authority accident it is imperative that you talk to a solicitor if you wish to pursue a claim.

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Involved in a Council or Local Authority Accident?

Being involved in a council or local authority accident, regardless of how serious the public place accident was, can be a traumatic experience – whether you have sustained any injuries or not. In cases where you are involved in a council or local authority accident that was not your fault, there may be a legal remedy. You can seek this legal remedy by way of a council or local authority claim.

Is my Local Authority Liable for an Accident?

Councils and Local Authorities are administrative bodies in local government who, as part of their rates, ensure the health and safety of members of the public in the local area. They provide many different services such as schools, sports facilities, transport services and maintain public areas including parks and roads. They are also responsible for ensuring the safety of the public in these services/careers.

Each local authority is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their area and the services which they provide. These local bodies are obliged to ensure that the public space that they are responsible for is adequately maintained. They have a duty of care to members of the public to ensure that their health and safety is a priority. In order to do this, they are expected to carry out frequent assessments of the services that they provide to help them identify and eliminate hazards which could potentially lead to an accident in a public place. It is also their responsibility to make people aware of these risks and hazards in order to reduce the risk of an accident occurring. If you have been injured on property under the responsibility of a council or local authority you may be entitled to make a claim if it was caused as a result of negligent behaviour on their behalf.

When is a Place Classed as a Public Space?

Before you can proceed with a personal injury claim, you will need to determine who was at fault for the accident. To this is, you must be able to understand if the injury you sustained occurred on a public or private space. A public space is an area of land that is freely accessible to members of the public. Some examples include public roads, parks, and footpaths.

Common Council or Local Authority Accident Injuries

Being involved in an accident in a public place can be a traumatic experience, especially if you have suffered any personal injuries. The most common injury claims that can occur after a council or local authority accident are:


Inadequate Signage

Councils and local authorities have a responsibility to make people aware of any potential hazards which could potentially cause an accident. Adequate signage should be in place if there is maintenance work being carried out. This signage itself must be secure and not cause further hazard. Failing to warn people of the potential danger could mean that they do not have enough time to react in this situation and may sustain injuries as a result.

Poor Road Conditions

Poor road conditions are generally a leading cause of road traffic accidents. Claims against councils are commonly made as a result of potholes or uneven road surfaces which are a potential hazard for vehicles. These conditions should be repaired in a timely manner or there should be correct secure signage in place to make people aware of this until the issue can be resolved. This could lead to injuries such as whiplash or broken bones. It is important to note that if you come across a pothole that could potentially cause an accident, you should report this to your local council or authority in order to have this repaired.

Poor Maintenance

This is a common cause of accidents in a public place. Poor maintenance could cause equipment to break, drains and manholes to be left unsafe or could lead to pipes becoming faulty and worn over time. It is important that maintenance is carried out on a regular basis in order to prevent this from happening.

A trip and fall on a footpath is a regular claim made against city councils where the pedestrian pathways are not maintained or repaired badly and also in cases where repairs are not made to footpaths in a reasonable time after they have been reported to the council.

Lack of Training

All employees should be provided with the necessary training that is required to carry out their job. This helps to reduce the risk of an accident occurring and allows them to carry out their job in a safe manner. This training should be provided to them by their employers who have a duty of care to ensure their health and safety at all times during the course of their work.

Common Accident Claims*

The most common council and local authority accident claims are:

What do I do if I'm involved in a council or local authority accident*?

Following a council or local authority accident, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  1. Seek medical attention

    Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after a council or local authority accident, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries.

    For minor injuries, you must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case, it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.

  2. Report the accident

    It is important to report the accident to the local council. You should request that they complete an accident report form.

  3. Identify any witnesses

    Details of any witnesses to the accident – obtain their names and contact information.

  4. Document the incident

    It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:

    • How the accident happened and the time and date of the accident.
    • Details of any witnesses to the accident (including staff and other customers), their names, contact information
    • If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident
    • Take pictures from different angles of where the accident happened and what caused you to slip, trip or fall. Try to include a common object in the pictures to give an example of the scale, such as a coin or a pen. Take pictures of any injuries you suffered; this will help your solicitor to understand how the accident happened
  5. Speak to a personal injury solicitor

    If you are considering moving forward with a council or local authority accident claim for any personal injuries sustained it is advisable that you speak with a public place accident claims solicitor as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A council or local authority accident solicitor can help you prepare your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.

    It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered most of the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist council or local authority accident solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your council or local authority accident claim it is important to have as much of the relevant information to hand as possible when contacting a solicitor. Some of the important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of your injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the claims process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you looked after this matter yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important documents in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or hospital details so they can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us to progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your accident claim will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. Your solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage, you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move to the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the representatives of the other party accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the representatives of the other party reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point prior to a court hearing date without you ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and this allows you to focus on your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey Solicitors LLP, we make law accessible to all – regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your accident, phone 01 649 9900 or email to tell us about your case, where you can speak with a member of our team straight away.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a council or local authority accident claim you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a council or local authority accident.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the council or local authority accident, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors LLP

We draw on more than 35 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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Our friendly and experienced team are waiting to answer your call. Lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

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