Public Liability Claims

When a member of the general public suffers a personal injury while in a public place due to the negligence of a person, company, or local authority, the injured party may be entitled to make a public liability claim.

Public liability differs from other personal injury claims because it is limited to accidents in a public place or a place where the general public are permitted. This includes places like restaurants and supermarkets because those businesses have a duty of care to keep their customers and members of the general public safe and must therefore take necessary precautions to prevent injury or harm to their customers.

The most common public injury claims include slips, trips, and falls. Public liability claims are not however limited to those circumstances and we would advise you to get in touch with our expert personal injury lawyers here at Brown Turner Ross for more advice on your specific claim.

Examples of a public liability claim

We will provide you with some examples of accidents that could warrant a public liability claim. Be advised that this list is not exhaustive and there are many other circumstances where you may be eligible to begin a public liability claim:

  • If you suffer a fall in supermarket as the result of an employee not clearing up a spillage and there being no warning signs to inform you of the potential hazard,
  • If you trip on the pavement because of damage to the surface of the pavement that your local authority was aware of but had not repaired or failed to inspection and make safe in a timely manner,
  • If you are hit by an object that has fallen from a building undergoing works when there were no barriers keeping you out of harms way.

In these examples there is a high chance of success when making a public liability claim. When you have a high chance of succeeding, you may find that solicitors offer you their services on a no win no fee basis.

Our public liability services

Looking for more detail on specific public liability claims? See the list of Brown Turner Ross’s specialisms below.

How to make a public liability injury claim

To make a public liability injury claim, you must start the claim within 3 years of the accident taking place. If it is beyond this time period then your case will not be eligible due to time bound regulations. This time limit does not apply to children who have been in an accident who have up until they turn 21 to begin their claim.

After you have been involved in an accident in a public place where you believe the blame lies with another party, you should instruct a personal injury lawyer to act on your behalf and begin a public liability claim. Your lawyer will be able to offer advice on whether or not your claim will succeed before you move forward.

There are a number of things you can do increase your chance of succeeding with a public liability claim.

After your accident, you should try to report your incident to the owner of the premises/party responsible for the relevant area and take as much evidence from the scene as possible. This includes copy accident report forms completed, CCTV footage, photographic evidence and names/contact details of witnesses.

If you can prove there was a duty owed to keep you safe, there was a failure to do so, so far as reasonably practicable and you suffered an injury as a consequence backed by evidence, this will put you in a much stronger stead moving forward.

You will also need to prove that you suffered an injury.  If appropriate seek medical attention and retain details of any expenses incurred/losses suffered with evidence to support (eg, loss of earnings, care and assistance received, travel costs, medication purchased, private medical treatment received).  Independent medical evidence will be obtained at a later date to provide you with a prognosis and formal opinion as to the injuries suffered, any future limitations and will recommend treatment as appropriate.  In addition, it will be necessary to evidence any losses allegedly suffered.  

personal injury claim form


What is public liability?

Public liability applies to situations where there has been an accident at an occupiers premises or a public place to a member of the general public due to the negligence of either a business owner, occupier, employee or local authority. 

Can I make a public liability claim?

If you have had an accident in an area where the general public are permitted that has affected your quality of life, health, or employment status within the last 3 years then you may be able to make a public liability claim against the relevant party responsible for your accident.

Children have until they are 21 years of age to begin their claim. Once they turn 18, their 3-year countdown begins.

What can public liability compensation cover?

If you win your public liability claim then you can seek compensation for any pain suffering and loss of amenity/subsequent losses (past and future eg, loss of earnings, care and assistance provided) including travel expenses, medical expenses, medical treatment and costs. The amount you receive will differ in each case depending on the severity of your accident and how long your injuries either affect or are projected to affect your life for.

Who needs public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance can be purchased by owners (occupiers) of premises, businesses or organisations to cover them for personal injury claims made against them.  Claims are generally pursued against the relevant party who has ultimate control of the area where your accident occurred and/or who are responsible for the inspection of, maintenance and repairs.

This type of insurance is not actually a legal requirement but it is highly recommended for big or small businesses alike and there may be some clients or membership bodies who will not work with businesses without appropriate public liability insurance being in place.

What are the types of public liability insurance?

Public liability insurance covers premises/businesses from personal injury claims made against them by members of the general public and is an optional form of liability insurance.

When you are choosing public liability insurance you will have to specify an excess that you will pay yourself towards your claim. If the claim is for less than your stated excess, then you will not be eligible to use your insurance to pay for the claim.

Public liability insurance differs from employers’ liability insurance. If you are an employer, then employers’ liability is compulsory by law. 

Does public liability insurance cover contractors?

If you are a contractor then there are types of public liability insurance that you can get to cover yourself. This may be beneficial if you travel and conduct work on your client’s premises or if you invite clients to your own place of work.

If you have temporary, contract, or sub-contract workers in your employ then they may also be covered through your own public liability insurance, but this can differ per insurance provider so it is advised to make sure before taking insurance out if this is important to you.

Southport Solicitors

Tel: 0170-454 2002

Fax: 0170-454 3144

11 St George's Place

Lord Street



Liverpool Solicitors

Tel: 0151-236 2233

Fax: 0170-454 3144

The Cotton Exchange Building

Bixteth Street


L3 9LQ