Like many organisations, local authorities and councils often have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to try and keep you safe when you’re using their facilities. They’ll often be responsible for keeping many of the local roads, paths, and highways safe as well. If they fail to uphold their legal responsibilities and you’re injured as a result, it’s possible that you could make a compensation claim against a local council for your suffering.
This guide on council accident claims will show you when a compensation claim might be possible, and walk you through the claims process.
We’re here to help if you’re considering making an accident claim against the council. Our claims advisors will review your case with you and let you know if there’s a reasonable chance you’ll be compensated. If there is, we could pass it to one of our personal injury solicitors. Should they agree to represent you, they’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis so you won’t need to pay them anything in advance.
To discuss a council accident claim right away, please contact our specialists on 0800 6524 881. If you’d rather learn more about your options before calling, please read the rest of this guide.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Council Accident Claim?
- Services That Councils Are Responsible For
- Common Types Of Accident Claims Against Local Councils
- How Much Compensation Could I Claim From The Council?
- Evidence To Support A Claim Against The Council For Injury
- Council Accident Claims Time Limits
- Starting A Council Accident Compensation Claim
In any type of accident claim, the defendant must owe the claimant a duty of care. In many cases, this is established by legislation. For example, if you’re injured from tripping on a pothole, the Highways Act 1980 might apply. Similarly, if you’re a local council employee who has been injured at work, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 might apply.
Before one of our solicitors takes on a compensation claim against the council, they will check whether:
- The council’s negligence meant it breached its duty of care; and
- An accident occurred as a result; and
- You were injured during that accident.
Our solicitors will know which piece of legislation applies to your case so your main job will be to provide evidence to show how your accident happened and why the council was to blame. We’ll show you what evidence could help with this process later on.
Essentially, councils are responsible for maintaining all spaces that are considered public property. This might include:
- Roads and highways;
- Public pathways and pavements;
- Public transport;
- Public parks;
- Sports and leisure facilities;
- Social care;
- Waste disposal.
A council’s responsibilities include:
- Repairing cracked pavements and roads;
- Re-setting loose paving slabs on pavements and pathways;
- Filling potholes on pavements and roads;
- Clearing public spaces of all tripping hazards such as loose debris or fallen trees;
- Ensuring all public transportation is subjected to regular inspection and maintenance;
- Ensuring all equipment used for various repair work is scheduled for regular inspection and maintenance;
- Providing all workers with adequate training, especially with regards to safety;
- Providing all workers with appropriate personal protective equipment;
- Addressing public concerns promptly.
We’ll review any potential council accident claim for free so please contact us today for a consultation.
You could be compensated for any type of accident on council property or places they are responsible for. We can’t include every single scenario here but some common examples of when you might be eligible to claim compensation from the council include:
- If you tripped on a pavement or other defect on a public highway such as a raised paving slab, exposed tree roots or a pothole. Pavement defects should be deeper or higher than 1-inch.
- Accidents in schools caused by damaged or poorly maintained equipment like desks or climbing frames.
- Injuries sustained in council-run leisure centres caused by damaged exercise equipment.
- Accidents in public playgrounds and parks due to insufficient maintenance of equipment.
- Workplace accident claims for council employees who weren’t provided with suitable protective equipment or who weren’t trained properly.
- Car accident passenger claims caused by the council’s failure to grit icy roads.
- Slips, trips and falls in council offices or town halls. For example, you could claim after slipping on a wet floor without any warning signs in place.
- Injuries to tenants in council houses caused by poor wiring or maintenance.
If you believe you have grounds to sue the council because they caused you to be injured, please get in touch for a free review of your case.
Personal injury compensation is designed to try and put you back on your feet after an accident. Usually, the amount of compensation you would claim from the council will cover any pain and suffering and any expenses you incur following the accident. Each council accident claim is unique but you could be compensated for:
- Any earnings you’ve lost while you were off work recovering.
- Mental harm.
- The pain and suffering your injuries caused.
- Any impact on your hobbies or social life (loss of amenity).
- Medical expenses including the cost of private remedial treatment.
- Travel expenses such as fuel costs when travelling to a hospital or the associated parking fees.
- The cost of replacing items damaged during your council accident.
- Making changes to your vehicle or home if you’ve been left disabled by the accident.
It’s important that the value of your council accident claim fully reflects all of your sufferings as you can only claim compensation for the accident once. Our solicitors will work with you to do this and they will always try to secure the maximum compensation possible in your case.
Without assessing your council compensation claim thoroughly, we can’t tell you exactly how much compensation you might receive. However, we’ve provided the following compensation calculator for council accident claims to give some idea of how much could be awarded for certain injuries.
Please note that any figures listed are indicative and only cover payouts for general damages. You might receive a different amount of compensation as a settlement if your council accident claim is successful. Please contact our team if you’d like us to review how much you could claim on 0800 6524 881.
During an accident claim against the council for personal injuries, you’ll need to convince their legal department or their insurers about how your accident happened, why the council was to blame, and how seriously you were injured. If you can’t, you might be paid too little compensation or none at all. Therefore, supplying as much evidence as possible can make all the difference. This could include:
- An accident report from the council as they are legally obliged to record all incidents reported to them. This is a good way of establishing the date, time and location of the council accident.
- Details of any witnesses to your accident so that your solicitor can ask them for a statement if necessary.
- Medical records and x-rays from the hospital or doctor’s surgery where your injuries were assessed and treated.
- Security camera footage if your accident was caught on camera. You are legally allowed a copy of this but you should request CCTV footage quickly as it’s often deleted quickly.
- Accident scene photographs that show the aftermath or cause of your accident. Where possible, you should take these pictures before anything is removed or replaced at the accident scene.
It’s also quite useful to keep a diary following your accident caused by the local council. This can be used to record when you weren’t able to work or the dates you had to miss social events because of your injuries. It can also be used to track any costs you’ve incurred following your accident.
We’ll review any evidence you have relating to your council accident claim as part of our initial free consultation.
In the UK, council accident claims for personal injury have a 3-year time limit. The limitation period will usually commence from the date of your accident. While it’s quite a long time, our advice is to begin your claim as soon as you can for a few reasons:
- You’ll have plenty of time to collect supporting evidence.
- It should be easier to recall how your accident happened.
- If you have there are any immediate financial costs linked to your injuries, such as the cost of private medical treatment, your solicitor may be able to secure an interim payment.
As each claim is unique, there isn’t a set time it takes for council accident claims to be processed. Where the council accepts liability for your accident and injuries straight away, you could be awarded compensation in less than 9 months. In other cases where negotiation is required, claims might take more than a year to be finalised.
Importantly, parents, guardians and other adults can claim for injuries to a child at any point before their 18th birthday. That means the 3-year time limit will not apply.
Hopefully, our guide has explained when you might be eligible to claim compensation from the council. If you believe you have a strong case and would like to take action, please call our team on 0800 6524 881.
During your free consultation, we’ll assess whether your claim is strong enough to proceed. If it’s accepted by one of our personal injury solicitors, you won’t need to pay them any fees unless you are compensated because of their No Win No Fee service.
Our team are connected to live chat 24 hours a day so please get in touch if you have any additional questions relating to council accident claims.