Someone had an accident on my private property – can they claim against me?

Posted Jan 22, 2020.

Accident on your property - who can claim compensation?

No matter what sort of private property you own or occupy, be it a flat, shop, restaurant or a sprawling country mansion, under the terms of the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957, you have a basic duty of care to all visitors.

If a visitor to your property is unfortunate enough to suffer an injury through no fault of their own, then that visitor is entitled to make a claim against you (or an insurance company that is covering you) for compensation. However, the applicable law and the ability for a visitor to make a claim can be divided into two distinct areas; visitors who have been invited onto your property or who are lawfully entitled to be there and those who are uninvited and who are trespassing. Whether a visitor is there lawfully or is actually a trespasser will depend upon the purpose of the visit and the type of the property involved. As a guide, a visitor does not require permission to enter premises which are open to the general public, such as a school, hospital, station, shop or restaurant.


So, what are the differences between unlawful and lawful visitors?

1.       Lawful Visitors: The Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 makes it clear that the owner or occupier must take reasonable care to ensure that visitors will be reasonably safe when using the premises for its intended purpose. Some properties will have a variety of potential uses and unless the visitor is acting in a particularly unusual manner, the law will assume that they were on the premises for its intended purpose. Common accidents which occur include slips, trips and falls, often due to factors such as poor lighting, uneven floors and debris / objects in unexpected places.

2.       Unlawful Visitors:  Even though an individual may be trespassing or visiting your property unlawfully, the law states that there is still a limited duty of care that must be exercised.  The Occupiers Liability Act 1984 states that the occupier owes a duty to the unlawful visitor where they may be aware that their premises contain a particular danger or dangers, excluded natural hazards such as rivers or ponds. Also, the Act recognises that on occasions an unlawful visitor will willingly accept the risk when they trespass on certain types of land, such as private land with no public right of way; in this case, the occupier will owe no duty of care.

Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors

At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants who have been injured through no fault of their own, and helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love delighting our clients when they receive injury compensation they deserve. 

If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us 
online or by phone on 01252 744600.