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Have you been injured in a public place?

We know how sudden and shocking an accident in a public place can be. The last thing you expect is to be injured when walking down the street, in a shop, while on holiday or playing your favourite sport. We also realise that an accident in a public area can have a serious impact on your everyday life as well as your finances.

If you've been in an accident in a public area, your injuries may have stopped you from being able to carry on with normal life. This can be frustrating and difficult to cope with on top of the physical pain of your injury.

You may have received reduced pay, such as Statutory Sick Pay, due to taking time off work. Along with other expenses, like medical treatment and rehabilitation, the financial pressure can leave you struggling to pay your bills or support your family.

Please don't worry. We can help you take the steps you need to make it right and get compensation to cover the impact of your injury.

For free help, or to find out whether you can make a public injury claim, you can get in touch with our legally trained advisors on , or fill in our secure online form to arrange a callback.

Did you Know?

There were 829,252 accident injury compensation claims in 2019/20.

Just over 8% of these - 72,587 - were made for trips, slips, falls and other public liability accidents.

Source: Compensation Recovery Unit at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

What is an accident in a public place?

Many people want to know the public injury definition, to understand if they are entitled to make a claim after their accident. Essentially, an accident in a public area is any incident that causes physical injury to yourself and/or someone else. 

For it to be classed as a public accident, it must have happened in a place that's accessible to the general public, either indoors or outdoors. Some places that would be classed as public include pavements, shops, parks and supermarkets.


What are the most common accidents in public places?

Unfortunately, public accidents can happen almost anywhere, such as in supermarkets, on the pavement, or in a leisure centre. Here are some of the most common accidents in public places:

If you have experienced an injury in an accident like these, you may be able to claim for compensation. You may also be able to make a public injury compensation claim where council negligence was responsible for what happened.

Please don't worry if your experience isn't mentioned here. If your accident happened in the last three years and was somebody else's fault, then it's likely we can help you.

If possible, we recommend you report your public injury to the staff or owner of the business so they can log it in their accident book. It's also helpful to ask for the contact details of anyone who witnessed your public accident if you can. This information can be useful evidence when it comes to making your claim.


I had an accident in public - can I make a claim?

It's easy to blame yourself for a public accident and just dismiss it as one of those things. But business owners and local authorities have a duty of care to keep you safe. If they've failed to do so and you've been hurt as a result, then they could be responsible and you may be able to make a no win no fee claim.

What's the duty of care of business owners and local authorities?

The owners of public premises are required by law to keep you and other visitors safe, as set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This means they must follow health and safety regulations put in place to keep the chances of public accidents happening to a minimum.

This could include cleaning up spillages as quickly as possible and signposting when the floor is wet, keeping walkways clear of obstacles and ensuring the area is lit well enough to avoid accidents.

Likewise, the local authorities or Highways England are responsible for making sure public pavements and walkways are well maintained and safe to use. If the pavement has become cracked or there are loose paving slabs, then this can cause trips or falls, leading to a painful street injury.

If a business owner or local authority failed in their duty of care, then you may be able to make a public injury claim to help you with your recovery and to make sure you're not left out of pocket because of your injury.

We know it may be difficult to tell whether you are entitled to make a public injury claim. If you give us a call on and talk us through what happened, our team of legal experts will be able to let you know if you can make a claim. But, to give you an idea before you call us, we usually advise that the accident must have been someone else's fault, happened in the last three years and caused you an injury. To find out more about making a public injury claim, call our legal team today.


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Is there a time limit for making public injury claims?

Yes, in most cases, public accident claims need to be made within three years. So, if you're reaching the end of this period, we recommend giving us a call on  while we still have time to help you. 

In some situations, there may be a different time limit. For example, if you were under 18 when you had an accident in a public area and your parent or guardian didn't claim on your behalf, you have until your 21st birthday to claim. Also, if you experienced severe head trauma because of an accident like a street injury, which meant you didn't have the capacity to claim, you may have longer. You can read more about what classes as lacking capacity in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.


How much public injury compensation could I get?

We know that money can't take away the pain and suffering you've experienced. But if you've had an injury in a public place, compensation can help to cover any costs you face, which can be particularly useful if you're unable to work. That means you can focus on your recovery without having to worry about your finances.

Our team of legal experts take all the impacts on you and your family into consideration when working out how much compensation you may get if your public injury claim is successful. For example, your lawyer will consider:

  • Lost earnings, now and into the future
  • Medical treatment and expenses, including prescription costs
  • Other expenses, such as travel costs, accommodation and care
  • Adaptations made to your home
  • The impact on your social life and hobbies
  • Your pain and suffering

Since every case is different, we can't tell you exactly how much you could receive before starting your public injury claim. But you can use our free compensation calculator to get an estimate of the amount you may be entitled to, based on your answers to six questions.


Chris contacted us after part of a broken shop door fell off and hit him in the face, breaking one of his front teeth.

I had to have painful emergency dental treatment and there isn't a lot of feeling left in that tooth now.

I'd never done anything like making a claim before, but I called National Accident Helpline and the person I spoke to was really efficient in matching me up with a solicitor.

Chris Lomas, 29, Oxford

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How do I make a public injury claim?

If you'd like to claim public injury compensation after an accident that wasn't your fault, simply get in touch with our legal experts on  or use the callback form at the bottom of this page. We'll listen as you tell us what happened, and let you know if we think you can make a public injury claim. Please know that there's absolutely no pressure to go ahead when you call us - it's completely up to you. We'll never pressure you into starting a claim.

If you would like to go ahead, just let us know. We'll pass you on to an experienced lawyer who'll be able to get your public accident claim started. They'll be able to explain exactly what happens next and let you know if they can take your case on a no win no fee basis. Your lawyer will then begin work on your case, by looking at evidence and getting in touch with the other side at fault for your accident in a public place.


Can public accident claims be made on a no win no fee basis?

Yes, they can. In fact, most of our public accident claims are made using a no win no fee agreement. This means you can make a claim for compensation without worrying about paying expensive legal fees. If you lose your case, you won't have to pay your lawyer, as long as you have the appropriate insurance in place. Our team can help sort this policy for you, so you can focus on your recovery.

If you win your case, you'll pay your lawyer a fixed percentage of your final compensation amount. This is known as a success fee. This percentage will be agreed between you and your lawyer before they start working on your public injury claim, so you'll know what to expect. Rest assured there's no hidden fees or upfront costs to worry about. 

In some cases, no win no fee agreements aren't possible. If this is the case for you, your lawyer will let you know so you can decide if you'd still like to make a claim.


Many people who get in contact with us after an accident in a public area are unsure whether it was their fault.

If you're feeling uncertain, it's best to get in touch with us for free on or fill in our secure online form to request a callback. We can let you know whether we think you can make a public injury claim and can offer free, confidential advice with no obligations.

Or, if you don't feel ready to speak with us, you can use our online claim checker which asks some simple questions about your accident and estimates whether you have a claim.