Accident in a Public Place*

Spillage Accident Claims*

Slips and trips are often the most common cause of public place accidents. These accidents usually occur as a result of spillages and often in places such as shops, restaurants, shopping centres, cinemas, forecourts and cafes. Road traffic accidents can also be caused as a result of oil spillages on the road. In a recent study, it was found that motorcyclists are more likely to be injured following an accident caused by a spill.

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Who is Liable?

If you have been involved in a spillage accident that was caused as a result of the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to make a claim for damages. It is important to note that claims made following a spillages accident are made through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). An important first step in the claims process is determining who is liable for the injuries you have sustained.

In many cases, it is the manager or owner of the public place that is found liable for the cause of the accident. This is generally as a result of a negligent behaviour or a breach of their duty of care. Occupiers of a public place have a responsibility to all visitors to ensure that their health and safety is looked after at all times. They are required to carry out frequent risk assessments in order to identify and eliminate hazards. This can greatly help to reduce the risk of an accident occurring. Following an accident in a public place, it is likely that the manager of the premises will be found liable unless it can be shown that they had taken reasonable steps to prevent an accident from occurring.

In some cases, the injured person may be liable for the cause of the accident. An injured party could have contributed to the cause of their injuries through negligent behaviour. This is known as contributory negligence. It is important to note that you may not be entitled to make a claim for damages if you have contributed to the cause of the accident and the injuries that you have sustained.

If the accident happened while at work then your employer may be found liable for failing to manage activities in a way which prioritises the health and safety of their employees. 

Occupiers Liability

The Occupier’ Liability Act 1995 is the main legislation in Ireland which provides for the occupiers of private land in relation to their duty of care to any visitors of the premises. The Act states that an occupier of premises owes a reasonable level of duty of care to any visitors of their land. This means that they should have a regard for their health and safety at all times and ensure that they do not sustain any injuries while on the premises. They should take steps to ensure the prevention of accidents and injuries as they may be found liable for injuries sustained as a result of failing to do so.

Common Injuries

Common injuries resulting from a spillage accident include:


Wet Floors

Wet floors are one of the leading causes of spillage accident claims. It is important that spills are cleaned up in a timely manner so as to ensure that a slip and fall accident does not occur. If the spillage cannot be cleaned up immediately there should be warning signs put in place to make people aware of this hazard. These signs can help to prevent accidents and injuries.

Oil Spills

Oils spills are commonly associated with road traffic accidents. Oil can be spilled from another vehicle causing the surface of the road to become slippery and difficult to drive on. This can lead to various injuries being sustained.

Lack of Warning Signs

It is very important that warning and wet floors signs are put in place to make people aware of potential slipping hazards. These signs help to prevent accidents and also help in showing that the occupier of the premises took reasonable steps to ensure the safety of visitors.

What to do after an accident in a public place*?

Following an accident in a public place, 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 public place accident, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries and seek the relevant medical attention. If you have sustained a serious injury ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.

    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

    If you have an accident in a public place it is important to report it to the persons who are in charge of the upkeep of property.

    Examples of such are:

  3. Identify any witnesses

    If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed the accident. This may be of good use if you do decide to pursue a public place accident claim. It is also useful to find out if there is any CCTV in the area where the accident happened.

  4. Document the incident

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

    • How the accident happened
    • Details of any witnesses
    • If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident
    • Take pictures of where the accident happened and what caused you to slip, trip or fall
  5. Speak to a public place accident solicitor

    If you are considering moving forward with a public place 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 public place accident solicitor can help you in preparing 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 all 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 public place accident solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your public place accident claim it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. 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
    • Try to retain any clothing and footwear in case it has some evidential value
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the public place accident claim process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this 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 public place 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, they will revert with a suggested settlement amount to your solicitor. 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 party at fault accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the party at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the party at fault 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 without 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 to let you focus of 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 public place accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a public place 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 public place accident.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the public place 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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