Councils and local authorities are responsible for public places and property such as pavements, public highways, leisure centres, parks, and libraries, to name a few. 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. In this guide, we’ll explain when suing the council might be an option, the types of accidents you could claim for, and how much compensation you might receive for your injuries.
Our team can help with suing the council for negligence by offering an initial no-obligation consultation. They’ll review your claim with you and offer free legal advice. If the claim appears to be strong enough, they’ll partner you with one of our personal injury solicitors. Should the claim proceed, your solicitor will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis meaning legal fees are only payable if you receive a compensation payout from the council.
To find out more about suing the council, please read on. If you’re ready to discuss your claim straight away, call us today on 0800 6524 881.
Table of contents
- What Are The Council’s Responsibilities?
- Can I Sue My Local Council For Negligence?
- Examples Of Council Negligence
- What Compensation Would I Be Entitled To Claim For?
- Evidence To Support Legal Action Against The Council
- Starting The Process Of Suing The Council For Negligence
Any council/local authority will have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to protect members of the public, tenants and employees in certain situations. Here are some examples of a council’s responsibilities:
- Councils are usually responsible for inspections of footpaths and public highways and carrying out adequate repairs where necessary.
- Council properties such as libraries, leisure centres and town halls should be well maintained and safe to use for visitors and staff.
- Parks, playgrounds and recreation areas should be inspected and properly maintained to keep them as safe as possible.
- All council staff should be given safety training and their workplaces should be kept as safe as possible.
- Any property let by the council should be done so in accordance with the current safety regulations.
These are just a few examples of a council’s responsibilities. There are many more examples relating to social care, data protection and children’s services that we won’t cover in this guide. However, if the council breaches their duty of care and you’ve been injured as a result, you could sue them for your suffering.
To be eligible to sue your local council for negligence with regard to a personal injury, you will need to prove that:
- The council owed you a duty of care; and
- Through the council’s negligence, an incident/accident occurred; and
- You were injured due to that incident/accident.
As you can see, council negligence alone will not provide you grounds to sue them for compensation. Instead, you must be able to prove that their actions or lack of action (negligence) caused you to sustain an injury of some kind.
Later on in this guide, we’ll explain what evidence could help you to successfully sue the council for negligence.
Some examples of negligence by a council that could see legal action taken against them include:
- Poorly maintained roads and paths. If the council fails to fix a defect on a pavement such as a pothole or missing kerbstone, you may be able to sue for compensation. However, the council could defend your claim if they can prove that they’ve carried out adequate inspections and the defect was not present at the last check. The same is true for public highways (roads)
- Accidents in public places. If you’re injured on a council property and the accident was caused by negligence, you could be compensated. For example, if you tore a muscle while using damaged or faulty equipment in a council-run leisure centre, a claim might be possible.
- Accidents caused by ice. You could claim for a slip and fall or a car accident on a council-maintained road or path if they failed to apply salt or grit during icy conditions.
- Recreational accidents. It may be possible to sue the council if your child was hurt in a playground. Examples of negligence here could include if the injury was caused by missing safety tiles, broken playground equipment or damaged furniture (benches and seats).
- Staff injuries. Council employees could sue their employer if they were injured at work. For example, they could claim if they weren’t provided with the required PPE or suffered a back injury at work because they’d not been given adequate training on safe lifting techniques.
- Tenant injuries. If you’re a tenant injured by a defect in a council property you could be entitled to compensation. For example, if you become ill because of dampness or mould that you reported but the council failed to remedy, you may be eligible to claim.
These are just a few examples when suing the council for negligence might be possible. Please call our team if you’ve got another scenario that you’d like us to check for free.
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 equipment and putting protective measures in place 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. These might include injuries at work such as:
- Slipped discs.
- Head injuries and mild concussions.
- Fractured bones.
- Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI).
If you were injured as a council worker/employee in any type of accident caused by the council’s negligence, we’d advise contacting our advisors to discuss your employer’s responsibilities and to determine your rights to take legal action.
When you sue the council for negligence, some things you may be able to claim compensation for (where applicable) could include:
- The pain caused by your physical injuries.
- Mental health injuries such as distress, depression or anxiety.
- Loss of amenity (how your hobbies or usual activities are affected by your injuries).
- Care costs.
- Medical expenses.
- Travel costs.
- Loss of income.
- Future loss of earnings.
- Damage to your personal belongings.
- Home adaptations to improve your quality of life (for more serious and long-term injuries).
Our solicitors will always try to make sure you are fully compensated by reviewing your claim in detail before filing it with the council.
When claiming against the local council/authority, you’ll need evidence to show the cause of your accident, who was to blame, and how seriously you were injured. This will aid your solicitor in presenting as strong a case as possible. This could include:
- Accident report forms. If you’re injured on council property, you should always ask for an accident report form to help prove where and when you were injured.
- CCTV footage. You are entitled to ask for footage of your accident from any council security cameras.
- Witness information. Give your solicitor the details of anybody who saw your accident. They may need to contact them for a statement of what they saw.
- Medical records. Your hospital or GP records could be obtained to prove how seriously you were injured.
- Photographs. It’s always a good idea to take pictures at the scene of your accident to show what happened. For example, if you’ve tripped on a pavement, take photos that clearly and (if possible) accurately show the height of the trip hazard. Additionally, photos of your visible injuries may help too.
There is a 3-year time limit in the UK for all personal injury claims. Generally, when suing the council for negligence, this will begin on the date of your accident or when your injuries were diagnosed (date of knowledge).
In most cases, if you sue the council for negligence, your solicitor will try to settle the claim with the council’s insurers or legal team amicably. In some cases, however, a court hearing may be required if liability for your injuries cannot be agreed upon or if the settlement amount is deemed to be too low.
Legally, the council cannot treat you any differently if you sue them after being injured at work. Therefore, your rights after an accident at work essentially mean you cannot be fired, demoted, singled out or prevented from applying for promotion based on the fact you are making a legitimate claim. If that were to happen, there may be grounds for separate legal action for unfair or constructive dismissal.
If you’d like to take action against your local council, you can call our team on 0800 6524 881 to start the process asap. They’ll review your claim for free and explain your options during a no-obligation consultation.
If your claim is accepted, you won’t need to pay legal fees upfront as your solicitor will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
Should you have any more questions about how to sue the council for negligence, please connect to our free live chat service.