Initiating a claim against your local council can potentially be a daunting experience. You may think that you stand no chance of winning your claim, or that your council will not care enough about your claim to take you seriously.
However, every local council is bound to a duty of care to its residents so you should not feel intimidated when seeking compensation for any harm that befalls you which has been caused by the negligence of your council.
At Brown Turner Ross, our expert personal injury lawyers can help you receive compensation for any injury caused by your local council whether it was an injury in a public place or an injury in a council owned property.
Can you claim against the council?
Yes, if your council were negligent with their responsibilities and this resulted in an injury to you, then you can make a claim against your local council.
This includes any injuries caused by contractors that work on behalf of your local council such as gas and electricity suppliers and building contractors.
For the general public, council claims can be broken down into two general categories: public accidents and private accidents.
Public accident council claims relate to things such as slipping over hazards on public roads and pavements, or falling off your bike after hitting a large pothole.
Private accident council claims are, in the majority, for council tenants who have encountered issues with their property that have led to injury such as serious structural damages or the presence of unsafe materials.
Beyond this, there are also claims that can be made if you are an employee of the council and are injured while at work.
Making claims against the council
When you make a claim against the council, the most important factor of your claim is the evidence that your injury was caused by your council’s negligence.
Your evidence can be provided in many formats including witness statements, photographs/video footage and medical records.
If you can prove that your local council neglected their responsibilities to maintain public property or any other council owned property and that this caused your injury, then you have a good chance of being able to make a claim in court.
As with most personal injury claims, you have three years from the date of the accident, or the date that you learned your council were responsible for your accident, to make your claim. There are exemptions to this three-year rule, such as if the accident occurred to a child or to someone unable to make a claim themselves.
Can you sue the council for negligence?
All local councils have a duty to keep public property in a safe working order. To do this, councils have maintenance standards that must be met through safety inspections, with these inspections needing to occur at different frequencies depending on the importance of the property in question.
Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 allows councils ‘reasonable’ time to complete repairs after any hazards have been identified. If a council can prove that they have a reasonable system of regular inspections that are in place to identify any potential hazards, they may be able to avoid being held liable.
This is why when suing the council for negligence it is important that you can prove that standards were lacking or issues were either being overlooked or left for too long before being repaired because if the council were unaware of the hazard, then they can potentially be cleared of any responsibility for injuries that occur as a result.
Council compensation payouts
Compensation amounts awarded by the council will be dependant on the severity of your injury and the effects that it will have on your life moving forward.
For example, for a very minor injury with only temporary effects that are resolved after a short period you may be awarded a sum of a up to £10,000.
In comparison, a very severe injury with permanent damages can potentially result in a payment of more than £200,000.
The fact that you are pursuing compensation from the council has little to do with the amount of compensation that you are awarded. What determines your compensation sum is your general and special damages. Therefore, if you receive an injury in a hairdressers and are seeking hairdresser compensation, you will likely receive a comparable amount of compensation if your claim was against the council for the same injury with equal general and special damages.
Our personal injury lawyers
Our solicitors at Brown Turner Ross put your wellbeing first and put a focus on your health before enacting a plan to seek compensation.
Whether you are seeking sports injury compensation, compensation against your local council, or any other form of personal injury compensation, our team of expert lawyers at Brown Turner Ross are here to help. Please get in touch as soon as you are ready to pursue a claim and we can get the ball rolling at your earliest convenience.
Can you sue the council for pothole damage?
Yes, you can sue the council for damages caused by unsafe potholes.
For a pothole to be classed as ‘unsafe’, then it needs to be either over 22mm deep on the pavement or over 40mm deep on the road. The council must also have either neglected to repair the pothole if they were aware of it or have neglected to perform routine maintenance checks to identify the pothole in the first place.
Can I sue the council for asbestos?
If you have developed an asbestos-related illness after being exposed to asbestos in your council property, then you may be able to make a claim against the council.
If your property was built before the asbestos ban in 1999 then it is not illegal for asbestos to be present. However, if your landlord was made aware of the presence of asbestos and they neglected to act on this by either removing or sealing the asbestos then this is illegal.
Can I sue the council for emotional distress?
Emotional distress is a proponent of general damages during compensation claims.
As emotional distress is completely personal and differs from individual to individual, there is no set amount that can be claimed for. Instead, it will be worked into your claim and taken into account alongside any other damages.
Can I sue the council for not gritting the road?
Yes, you may be able to sue the council if you were injured as a result of an unreasonable winter service code leaving roads ungritted.
There are many factors that courts take into account when considering a council’s winter service code. This includes the level of traffic on the road and its location – for example, is it close to a school or a hospital?
If their winter service code was reasonable yet it was not put into practice, then you will likely be able to make a claim.
You also must be able to provide evidence that the lack of grit on the road caused your injury. This is best provided by objective evidence such as photographs or video footage.
Can I sue council for my mouldy flat?
Yes, you may be able to sue the council for mould in your flat.
Tenants are entitled to safe housing and, as mould can cause health issues or make existing ones worse, the presence of high levels of mould would definitely be a cause for concern.
Landlords are responsible for carrying out maintenance and repairs of any exterior damage to the rented property. Therefore, if the damp or mould in your flat is being caused by external damages to the property that the council has neglected to repair, then you may be able to make a claim against your council.