Councils and local authorities are responsible for public places such as pavements, highways, leisure centres, parks, and libraries. They have a legal duty of care to ensure that these public spaces are properly maintained to ensure users’ safety. If they failed in their duty of care and you were injured as a result, you may be considering suing the council for negligence.
What Exactly Are A Council’s Responsibilities?
A council’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Undertaking regular inspections of public spaces such as roads, pavements, leisure centres, libraries, recreation grounds, children’s play areas, and local public swimming pools to assess surface damage and potential risks to users.
- Addressing and rectifying all known potential hazards in public spaces as quickly as possible. Before and during the repair work, clearly visible notices must be put up alerting users about the hazard.
- Putting in place safety measures to mitigate the risks of adverse weather conditions such as snow and ice.
Examples Of Council Negligence & Their Consequences
Some of the more common examples of council negligence include:
Poorly maintained pavements and pathways
Broken tiles, uneven or loose paving slabs, cracked surfaces, fallen trees, and potholes can cause pavement accidents resulting in personal injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to fractures and head injury.
Badly maintained roads
Oil slicks, pot holes, gravel, and uneven roads can cause road accidents resulting in injuries such as whiplash, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and brain trauma.
Ungritted roads, walkways, and staircases
Under icy conditions, ungritted walkways and staircases at leisure centres, libraries, and swimming pools, increase the risk of slip, trip and fall injury claims.
Not putting up warning signs while carrying out council maintenance and repair work
Passers-by and drivers unaware of ongoing work may run headlong into the hazard, sustaining serious injuries.
Not putting measures in place to ensure council workers’ health, safety, and well-being
According to the Health & Safety at Work Act, all employers including councils and local authorities, must make sure their employees work in a safe environment. This includes providing proper training and adequate personal protective gear, and putting protective measures to minimise potential hazards. Failure to do this can cause mental harm such as emotional distress and physical injuries ranging from mild to severe, or worse.
All of the above injuries can be prevented by councils being more vigilant and pro-active. If you were injured in any type of accident caused by council’s negligence, you should speak to a personal injury solicitor to determine your eligibility to suing the council for negligence compensation.
Suing The Council For Negligence Using A Personal Injury Solicitor
If you’re considering suing the council for negligence by yourself, you may find it particularly difficult. Councils typically have access to lawyers who will scour council compensation claims for ways that they can use to get it discredited. Moreover, you must be able to prove that the council/local authority knew about the cause of the accident but failed to take the necessary corrective measures within a reasonable period of time.
For council negligence claims, it’s important, in our opinion, to get a legal professional who is just as well-versed with personal injury law and who will put together a strong claim that is sure to have a good chance of success.
Besides being experts in this area of the law, our personal injury solicitors go out of their way to make legal help more accessible to personal injury victims. They do this by offering a complimentary consultation to hear you out and assess the merits of your claim. They will not charge any upfront fees and fund all legal proceedings on a No Win No Fee basis.
No Win No Fee Negligence Claims Against The Council
A No Win No Fee offers personal injury claimants several benefits. It absolves you from any financial commitment until such time that the claim is successful. Meanwhile, your solicitor/law firm will (while the claims is in progress) cover all legal costs and other experts’ fees. You only pay a percentage of your settlement if the claim against the council is successful.
With a No Win No Fee agreement, you don’t have to worry about taking any financial risks or how to fund your claim. Your solicitor will take care of everything for you.
A personal injury solicitor will also explore precedents and may discuss your claim with other legal and medical professionals to determine the maximum settlement you can claim for your injuries.
Building A Strong Council Negligence Claim
These are a few things you can do immediately after the accident and in the ensuing months to help your solicitor build a strong case against the council:
- Collect evidence at the scene of the accident – This can be in the form of photographs and videos showing the defect that caused the accident as well as your injuries. Even better, if you have a time stamp on the photographs.
- Get CCTV footage where possible – If there are any CCTV cameras in the vicinity, request for a copy of any footage that captured the incident.
- Ask for contact details of any witnesses who can corroborate your claim.
- If you were injured in a road accident, file a report at the nearest police station and get a copy of the complaint.
- Keep all of your medical records for the injury/injuries caused by the councils negligence.
What You May Be Entitled To Claim For
When you sue the council for negligence, some things you may be able to claim for (where applicable) include, but are not limited to:
- Out of pocket expenses such as the complete cost of medical treatment/s
- Cost of long-term or ongoing treatment/s such as physiotherapy or any other long term corrective treatments
- Loss of wages from being unable to go to work
- Structural adaptations to your home or vehicle that are necessary to overcome any mobility limitations
- Cost of care if you need home care visits or counselling
- Cost of day care if you are unable to care for your younger kids by yourself
- Costs incurred from traveling to and from the hospital for ongoing treatments
All personal injury claims for council negligence must be filed within three years from the date of the accident, or date of knowledge. If you don’t file legal proceedings within the time lime, you may lose out on the compensation legally due to you for your injuries. This is why it is especially important to get in touch with a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible if you’re suing the council for negligence.