Personal injury claims against local authorities/councils have increased in recent years. Whether this is a consequence of more people taking action over injuries or the result of austerity is debatable.
So, if you have been injured as a consequence of negligence by your local council, you may be entitled to compensation. We will now walk you through the process of gathering information and processing your claim.
While we often complain about “crazy regulations” introduced by councils, very often these are introduced as a consequence of previous legal actions.
We will now take a look at some of the more common claims against local councils and injuries received.
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Does My Council Have a Duty of Care Towards Individuals and Businesses?
Yes. Local authorities have a duty of care towards their employees, the general public, and businesses in their vicinity. Over the years, we have seen examples of various breaches of this duty of care as a result of:-
- Inadequate funding for services
- Outdated/badly maintained equipment
- Poor reaction times to public concerns
- Substandard staff training
- Inexperienced staff
- Lack of safety equipment
Tort law dictates that when suing for compensation, first of all, you need to prove negligence on behalf of one or more third parties. When it comes to the local authority/local councils, this proof of negligence often relates to the duty of care they have towards employees, individuals, and businesses in the area.
If you can prove that they failed to maintain this duty of care, then you have every chance of pursuing compensation.
On average 20% of people who get injured at work make a compensation claim.
What Kind of Services Do Local Councils Provide?
When you sit back and take a look at the services provided by local councils, there are certainly many. These will include:-
- Sport/leisure facilities
- Waste disposal
- Public pathways
- Public roads
- Social care
This is just a fraction of the overall services provided by your local council, all of which carry a duty of care.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Associated With Local Council Compensation Claims?
It is impossible to list all of the injuries associated with local council compensation claims but some of the more common include:-
- Injuries on council premises as a consequence of badly maintained buildings/equipment
- Potholes causing damage to vehicles and in some cases accidents
- Work-related injuries for council employees
- Slips, trips and falls on icy roads, icy paths, and uneven surfaces
Even these four different types of injuries give you an idea of the challenges facing local councils. On the one hand, they have a duty of care towards employees; on the other hand, they have a duty of care towards the general public and all businesses in their vicinity. It is not easy running a local council!
Do I Need to Prove Negligence Before Claiming Compensation?
Yes. Unless you are able to prove negligence by the local council in isolation or with other parties, your compensation claim will never get off the ground.
In order to prove negligence, you will have to collate as much information as possible and provide evidence to back up your case.
This evidence may include:-
- Photographic evidence
- Witness statements
- Evidence of failure to act on warnings
- Substandard equipment
- Timeline of events
- Medical records
- Details of medical assistance at the scene
- Evidence of similar incidents
Before we go any further, it is important to note that with, for example, icy roads, the council would not be expected to be there at the first hint of ice. If the council was able to prove they acted within an acceptable timeframe but were not able to stop an accident, they may well be able to avoid compensation.
That would have surprised you, the courts using common sense!
Do I Need to Utilize the Services of a Claims Management Company?
No. It is perfectly acceptable for a claimant to pursue their own case without outside assistance. The danger is that even the strongest cases may fall by the wayside, due to the complexities of the UK legal system.
When using a claims management company, you are using parties who have been there, done it, and are fully aware of the pitfalls. Perhaps this is why more and more people are now using claims management companies when pursuing compensation against local councils.
How Do I Appoint a Claims Management Company?
When you have gathered as much information as possible, in your attempt to prove negligence, you should approach a claims management company. They will give you an independent analysis of your case and review your evidence.
If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of a successful claim, they will likely offer you a “no win, no fee” arrangement. This effectively means that you are indemnified against costs incurred by your claims management company when pursuing your case. However, in exchange, the claims management company will look to negotiate a success fee with you.
What Is a Success Fee?
A success fee is an arrangement whereby the claims management company will receive a share of any compensation awarded. The average success fee tends to be around 25%, although it can vary depending on the type of case and the level of compensation.
Will I Need to Go to Court?
Evidence suggests that only 1% of personal injury claims are actually heard in court. Where there is strong evidence, councils will tend to seek out-of-court settlements to reduce their legal expenses.
If negligence was refuted, or both parties were unable to agree on compensation despite the defendant accepting negligence, the next port of call would be the courts. You would likely be asked to give evidence, which can, for some people, be challenging. However, remember that you are not on trial; you are simply giving evidence and answering questions.
What Are General Damages and Special Damages?
When discussing compensation with your claims management company, you will come across the terms of general damages and special damages. General damages related to financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
The level of compensation is dictated by the industry guidelines, although there is a degree of discretion. Special damages are very different; these relate to financial recompense for costs incurred to date, ongoing costs, and expected future funding requirements.
Special damages can include everything from medical treatment to changes to your home, the cost of medical equipment to loss of earnings.
It is worth noting that general damages are limited, but special damages are not.
Unfortunately, many local authorities up and down the country have been experiencing financial difficulties, which have impacted their staffing levels. In some cases, this has led to issues in the workplace, issues in the public domain, and a growing number of injuries and compensation claims.
Historically, local authorities were the target for fraudulent claims with potholes and road-related injuries seemingly commonplace. Action by local authorities and the UK government certainly reduced this level of fraud, but it can be challenging keeping up with the criminal gangs.
That said, if you have been injured as a consequence of negligence by your local council, it is important that you pursue compensation. While some people feel it is morally wrong to sue the council for negligence and compensation, what about future changes?
Unless negligent third parties are held to account, then nothing will change, accidents will continue to happen, and some people in the future may not be as lucky as you. You could literally be saving lives!
Quick Personal Injury FAQs
On average 20% of people who get injured at work make a compensation claim.
How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.