Claims Guide: Injuries Suffered on Private Property

Posted Sep 13, 2018.
Just because you may have suffered an injury on private property, it does not mean that you will be unable to make a claim for compensation should the accident and injury be someone else’s fault. 

When handling claims where an injury has occurred on private property, one of the most complex – but crucial – part is determining who is liable for the injury. A lot of the complexity depends on the circumstances of each claim and who the claim is going to be made against. This could be a private business such as a shop or restaurant, a local authority or Government owned property or an individually owned property.

The law governing private property claims

Claims made for accidents and injuries on private property mainly fall under the The Occupiers Liability Act of 1957, which simply put requires that whoever is responsible for, owns or occupies a property or premises is ultimately responsible for the safety of guests and visitors, which even includes ‘visitors’ who are there without being invited or, indeed, unlawfully.  There is a legal duty of care on all property owners or occupiers to ensure ‘reasonable safety’, and this can often take the form of proper property maintenance, compliance with appropriate regulations and being very clear of potential dangers through appropriate use of warning signs. If this duty of care has not been complied with, a successful claim for compensation is much more likely. 

Residential Property Injury Claims 

Claims for accidents that have occurred in or on a private residential property mainly fall under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984. With private residential claims, there may actually be two potential defendants (that is, the people or their insurers that you would be claiming against) as often a property will be owned by someone but then rented to another person. It is important to seek legal advice here to ascertain who is responsible; in any case, the obligation of ‘duty of care’ will still apply. 

Business Property Injury Claims

With accidents on business properties, there are more laws covering the owner with the main one usually being the Health and Safety Act. As with all such claims, the property owner has a legal duty of care. The actual defendant who is ultimately liable for a claim will depend on the individual circumstances surrounding each claim, such as wether the claim should be made against the landlords, an individual (such as a subcontractor) or another business that is leasing the premises, such as a shop or a restaurant. Again, seeking legal advice is important to ensure that any claim is made correctly. 

Injury Compensation – what can be claimed?

The amount of compensation will vary and is calculated based on the specific factors involved in each individual claim. The main types of compensation conist of:

During the process of filing a claim, there will be other expenses for which you can be compensated. These include:

General Damages – for the injury or injuries you have suffered, specifically compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (that is, your quality of life)
Loss of Earnings – to compensate for monies lost due to your inability to work following the accident. This may also include loss of future earnings if the injuries are servere an inhibit your ability to work in future.  
Long Term Care Claim – for nursing fees and other care-related expenses.  
Travel Expenses – for expenses you have incurred visiting hospital, attending medicals, etc
Medical Expenses – for medicine and medical care, including private health care you may have received.  

As always, seek professional legal advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible following an accident.