Accidents in Public Places – A Guide

Slip, trip and fall accidents can happen pretty much anywhere. We often hear from clients who have had accidents in public places – falling because of an uneven pavement, broken steps, a slippery floor in a cafe or supermarket, or another public place.

If you’ve been injured in a public place, we’ve written this guide to help you. Understanding the steps that you will need to take in order to claim compensation can be a bit of a minefield.

The majority of clients that come to us have never made a claim for compensation before and they don’t know where to start. We hope this guide will help you get to grips with the accident claims process and how our Personal Injury lawyers can assist.

no win no fee

Helping to make life simpler for those with a claim.

Slip, trip and fall accidents can happen pretty much anywhere. We often hear from clients who have had an accident in a public place. This includes falls because of uneven pavement, broken steps or a slippery floor in a café or supermarket.

If you’ve been injured in a public place, we’ve written this guide to help you. Understanding the steps that you will need to take in order to claim compensation can be a bit of a minefield.

The majority of clients that come to us have never made a claim before. If they’ve never made a claim, they may not know where to start. We hope this guide will help you get to grips with the process and how our lawyers can assist.

If you still have questions after reading our guide, please pick up the phone and give us a call on 01752 827085. You can also email us or ask us to call you back.

Accidents in Public Places - Slip and Fall - Nash & Co Solicitors
Accidents in Public Places – Slip and Fall – Nash & Co Solicitors


Key points

  • You may be entitled to claim compensation for accidents in public places. If you’ve slipped, tripped or fallen in a public place and it wasn’t your fault, then get in touch with us.
  • If we think that you have a claim, we’ll be able to work for you on a No-Win-No-Fee basis.
  • One of our experienced and highly trained Accident Claims lawyers will be running your claim.
  • The amount of compensation that you might be entitled to is based on how severe your injuries are. Whether or not you will need care in the future will also be taken into account.
  • If you paid for medical treatment and other things following your accident, you may be able to claim for these too.
  • The general rule is that you have 3 years from the date of the accident to make a claim. There are exceptions though, please read on to learn more.
  • The amount of time it will take to claim the compensation is dependent on how severe your injuries are.

Why choose Nash & Co Solicitors

  • We have fully qualified personal injury lawyers with a wealth of experience
  • We’re independent of any insurance companies and will always act in your best interests
  • We’ll ensure we do all we can to achieve the best possible settlement for you
  • We do what we say we will do, when we say we will do it
  • There will always be someone available to discuss your claim with you

What information is needed following an accident in a public place?

At the initial meeting about your accident claim (which can be in person or by telephone), we will ask you lots of questions. It will greatly help the accidents in public places claim if you have the following details with you.

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The more information you can provide us with, the better.

How long do you have to make a claim?

In a claim for personal injuries, you have three years from the date of the accident (unless the person is a child) to either settle your claim with the Defendant or to have commenced court proceedings in order to protect your position.  If you do neither, then your claim is barred by the statute.

If the claim is for a child, they have three years from their 18th birthday to start a claim.  A child can start a claim at any age if they have a “litigation friend”. This is usually a parent or close family member who can deal with the matter on their behalf.

There is no time limit for someone unable to claim on their own behalf due to diminished mental capacity. However, should they regain normal mental capacity the three-year limitation period will commence from that date.

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How soon after your accident should you start a claim?

Although you have three years within which to bring a claim, we would never recommend that you leave it that long.  There is a lot of investigative work that needs to be undertaken before a personal injury claim is ready to be settled or court proceedings can be issued.  The longer a claim is left, the less likely a claim is to succeed.  The reason we say this is because important documents that can be beneficial to your claim can be misplaced, lost or destroyed.  Witnesses can move or their memories fade, so the sooner you start an accident claim, the better.

What do you have to prove in order to make an accident claim?

If you’re making a claim regarding accidents in public places, you will need to prove the following:

  • The Defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The Defendant breached that duty of care and has therefore been negligent
  • The breach of duty caused you some degree of injury

Compensation – what you could receive

The amount of personal injury compensation you receive will depend on a variety of factors. These include the severity of your injury and the duration of your symptoms. Until final medical evidence is obtained in your case, your lawyer will not be able to tell you what the value of your claim is. It may be possible for your lawyer to give you a rough idea at your initial meeting. Please remember this will only be a guide.

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How is compensation calculated?

Compensation awards in personal injury claims are made up of General Damages and Special Damages. General Damage is compensation for pain and suffering and loss of amenity. Special Damage is compensation for financial losses.

General Damages

This is compensation for your injuries. The court assesses the value of your injuries by using the Judicial College Board Guidelines. These guidelines detail levels of awards for different types of injuries. The amount of the award depends on the severity of the injury, together with contributing factors such as the recovery period.

Awards vary from case to case and very much depends upon the medical evidence in your case. The guidelines are just that, they are a guide for the judges to use when placing a value on each claim.

When medical evidence is available in your case our lawyers will always give you a bracket as to what they believe your claim for General Damages is worth.

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Special Damages

These are the financial losses which you may have incurred as a direct result of your accident in a public place. Usually the biggest loss, is loss of earnings as a result of not being able to work. It can also include loss of over time, loss of bonuses and loss of shift allowance. If your accident has affected your future ability to work, then claims can be made for future loss of earnings. Your pension may also have been affected.

Other claims can include travelling expenses to medical appointments, car parking charges, prescription/medication costs, physiotherapy fees, counselling fees, cost of care, aids or special equipment.

It is important that you keep a detailed note of all of the financial losses which you have incurred together with receipts for the items you have paid for. If you are not sure whether you can recover a cost, you should keep a note of it and your lawyer will advise you.

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How long will it take to settle your claim?

As every claim is unique, there is no fixed length of time to settle claims for accidents in public places. If liability for the accident is contested and the injury is more complicated, and you take longer to recover then the claim will take longer to conclude. If liability is admitted early in the claim, your injuries settle down quite quickly and the defendant’s insurers make a reasonable offer to settle the claim, then things can be concluded quite quickly.

Relatively straightforward accident claims can settle within 12 -18 months, but more complicated claims can be ongoing for several years.  We do not rush to settle personal injury claims as we need to ensure that you have made a good recovery before settlement of a claim is considered.

Does it matter who you choose to represent you?

It is imperative that you make sure you have a Personal Injury lawyer that has your best interests at heart. It’s crucial they understand your claim and most importantly, know the law and what you should be claiming. 

You should have a good relationship with your solicitor and feel they are working with you to achieve one thing – the best possible result for you.

Our Accident Claims lawyers are known for their understanding and compassion.  They appreciate that you have probably never been in this position before, so may be feeling uncertain and worried about what comes next.  They talk to you in plain English, with no complicated and confusing legal jargon. You will be kept fully informed about your accident claim, every step of the way.  You will always have someone in the team with a working knowledge of your claim. This means you can talk about your case when you need to.

Our Personal Injury lawyers will go that extra mile to make sure they achieve the right result for you.  If you are still not sure, look at what their previous clients have said about them on our Google reviews.

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What will it cost to make a claim?

It won’t cost you a penny to pick up the phone and give us a call to talk through the circumstances of your accident.  We offer a free initial discussion to discuss your potential claim and provide our initial advice.

If we think that you do have a claim worth pursuing and you are keen to proceed, we will act for you under a no win no fee agreement (formally called a Conditional Fee Agreement).  Making a no win no fee claim typically involves us taking out an insurance policy on your behalf.

The insurance policy protects you if your claim is unsuccessful.  It also allows you to make a claim for compensation without having to pay a penny upfront.

You will only ever pay anything if your no win no fee claim is a success and even then, your opponent will pay most of your costs.  Any remaining costs are then deducted from your compensation payment.  We will talk you through all of this in advance and in more detail so that you are fully informed from the outset.

Remember, if we don’t win your case, you won’t need to pay us a penny!

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What’s next?

If you have questions about accidents in public places or would like to arrange a free consultation, get in touch with us. You can call our solicitors in Plymouth on 01752 827085 and speak to an experienced member of the Accident Claims team about your situation. We’ll be delighted to help you gain the compensation you’re entitled to. You can also email the team at [email protected]

Alternatively, to arrange a call back from our expert solicitors, you can complete our contact form.