Trips and falls are an everyday occurrence. You may have had this kind of accident yourself, having slipped on an uneven surface, or tripped over a jagged piece of concrete on the pavement.
Slips, Trips and Falls Claims Lawyers Dublin, Ireland
However, contrary to what many believe, accidents that occur in public may be the responsibility of a particular body or organisation, who will be required to provide you with financial compensation for your injury if it was something that they could have avoided.
Making a Claim for an Injury Suffered in a Public Place - Personal Injury Lawyers Dublin
Claims for injuries sustained in public places are increasingly common. At Sherwin O’Riordan Solicitors, our team are regularly involved in pursuing claims for financial compensation arising out of trips and falls in public places. If you have been injured in a public place, our expert public liability solicitors may be able to secure you financial compensation to reflect your injuries. Speak to us today and find out how we can help.
Have you had a public accident?
When is a place a public space?
It is very important to understand what kind of environment will be deemed a public space. This will have implications for who you will be able to hold responsible for your injury. A public space is an area of land that is intended for use by members of the public. You will find these in every city: roads; pavements; parks; and town and city squares.
Who is responsible for maintaining a public space?
If you have been injured as a result of suffering a trip or fall in a public space, e.g. on a road or pavement etc., responsibility for this will be with the Local Authority or the organisation responsible for maintaining the public space.
These bodies are obliged to ensure that the public environment they have control over is properly maintained. This will include an obligation to ensure that facilities made available to their community, e.g. parks, roads and other public spaces, are kept free of any danger to people that will use them.
If you have been injured in a public place, your claim will be made in respect of their public liability insurance. Public liability insurance is designed to allow them to provide you with a level of financial compensation, where you have proved that they neglected their obligations in respect of your safety by maintaining a public place.
What needs to be proved in a public liability claim?
In order for your public liability claim to succeed, it must be proved that your accident was avoidable. In other words, you must be able to demonstrate that the Local Authority or other relevant organisation did something, or failed to do something, that caused you to be injured. In law, this is known as negligence.
In order to prove that the Local Authority or organisation has acted negligently, you will need to be able to demonstrate to a court that certain criteria have been satisfied. The main points that you will need to be able to evidence are:
- You were owed a duty of care - It must be established that the Local Authority or organisation owed an obligation to you as a member of the public, not to do anything (or fail to do anything) that could cause you to be injured. It tends to be fairly straightforward to evidence to a court that the Local Authority or organisation owe you a duty of care in respect of your use of public places.
- The Local Authority or organisation must have chosen to act in the way that it did
- Operators and maintainers of public spaces tend to have significant demands on their resources, and this criterion is designed to show that they were not forced to take the action that they took/failed to take. Essentially, you will need to be able to show that its act or omission was negligent.
- The situation was likely to result in an accident occurring - In order to satisfy this criterion, it must be demonstrated to a court that it was reasonable to expect that an accident would occur.
- The Local Authority or other relevant body failed to do what would have been done by others
This last, and arguably most significant part of proving negligence, is often the most difficult to prove. You will need to be able to provide evidence that whatever the Local Authority’s actions, they fell below the standard of conduct expected in the circumstances. This must then be shown to have caused the injury that you suffered.
How is negligence proved?
Proving that a Local Authority or organisation acted negligently in allowing a public place to become a danger to you, and other members of the public, is difficult.
In the first instance, your injury should be reported to the Injuries Board, where an independent assessment of your claim will be carried out. It is only where the Local Authority or relevant organisation disputes liability for their responsibility for your injury that the matter will need to be referred to the courts for consideration.
Court room litigation in respect of personal injuries can be complex. However, there are important pieces of evidence that can be used to build a strong case in support of your claim. These include:
- Photographs of the area that you suffered the accident – it is important that you are able to help the court visualise the area that you suffered your injury. Photographs can be very powerful in demonstrating the state of a public place, and the degree to which the Local Authority or organisation may have neglected its responsibilities;
- Supporting statements of your version of events – the party you hold responsible for your injury will not easily concede negligence if they have proof to the contrary. It will be significant if you are able to provide the court with independent accounts from other people that saw you suffer your accident, and can point to the fact that it was the state of the area in question that caused your injury; and
- Records of the injury you sustained – it can be very helpful in mounting a claim following a slip or fall if you are able to provide evidence of the injury you suffered. If you had to undergo any medical treatment, or perhaps had to take time away from work as a result of your injury, this should be made known to the court.
Sherwin O’Riordan Public Liability Claims Solicitors for Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Leinster & Across Ireland
At Sherwin O’Riordan, our specialist litigation lawyers have a long, successful history of assisting clients pursue claims for financial compensation for injuries in public places.We can help with a range of personal injury claims including workplace accidents, road traffic accidents and Garda Siochana Compensation Act Claims.
We handle every aspect of your claim: gathering of evidence; interviewing witnesses; engaging with the relevant organisation or public body; and representing your interests during negotiations for financial settlement or, when necessary, in court.
Contact our Personal Injury Solicitors Dublin, Ireland
Whether you are based in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Leinster or elsewhere in Ireland, our team of injury solicitors can help. If you are considering raising a public liability claim for a trip or a fall or for any other personal injury claim or legal matter, get in touch on touch +353 1 663 2000 to speak with one of our experienced solicitors.