How to Sue the Council for Negligence

Reading time: 4 mins

Carrie Tennick, April 13, 2021

As we approach the end of lockdown restrictions and we’re allowed more freedoms, more of us will start heading outdoors.

While bars and cafes continue to face certain limits, parks, beaches and other public spaces could see a lot of the newly legalised socialising. This could result in them being busier than they would normally be.

Because these areas are usually the responsibility of the council to maintain, it could also be their responsibility if something goes wrong and someone is hurt.

If that person is you, you could be able to sue the council for negligence.

When is an accident the council’s fault?

Councils are required to maintain their property. This means they have to ensure the buildings and land they own are safe for public use. When they fail in their duty of care to the public by not maintaining council property and an accident happens, they could be liable for any injuries sustained.

But it isn’t always the council’s fault. If you want to pursue a council compensation payout, you’ll need to know when an accident is because of their negligence.

As an example, if you were walking in the rain and slipped on a metal drainage grate, this would not be the council’s fault. As it was raining, the council would argue that you should have taken extra care and avoided more slippery surfaces. The council could not prevent the rain and if there was no fault with the grate, there was no issue to address.

In contrast, if you were walking on a pavement and tripped on an uneven section that had already been reported, this could be the council’s fault. That’s because the pavement is the council’s responsibility to maintain and it is expected to be safe for walking. If the council knew about the problem, it should have put a plan in place to fix it.

A council must carry out regular inspections to ensure its property is safe for the public. When it fails and has not identified or addressed any problems that have been reported, it can be held responsible for any accidents that happen as a result.

How to sue the council for negligence

When you’ve decided that you want to go ahead with a claim, you’ll need the right legal team behind you. If you have a claim, First4Lawyers can match you to a specialist personal injury solicitor, who will do their utmost to get you the compensation you’re entitled to.

Make a personal injury claim against the council

One of the most important aspects of suing the council for negligence is proving the accident was its fault. This makes evidence essential when you want to make a compensation claim.

You might want to start compiling your evidence before you get in touch with us – but if you haven’t, this isn’t a problem. Your solicitor will let you know what you should provide to help prove your case.

This could include photographs of the accident scene or your injury, CCTV footage and police or medical reports from when you were first treated.

Your solicitor will also likely arrange for you to have a medical assessment to show how your injury has affected you and how long your recovery is expected to take.

Who pays compensation when suing the council?

Councils are required to have insurance policies in place. These policies are there to cover the cost of compensation for any claims made against them. Anyone leasing a council property or land must have a policy in place.

It’s the insurer that will pay your compensation – so you don’t have to worry about your claim affecting the council’s finances.

Once your solicitor has the evidence together, they will present your case to the council and their insurer. It’s up to them to either accept or deny that they were liable for your accident. If they deny liability, your solicitor will keep working to get you justice. This could involve going to court – but the huge majority of claims are settled before this has to happen.

If the council and their insurer do accept liability, your solicitor will then negotiate with them to get you the compensation you deserve for the council neglecting its duty of care to you.

To find out if you can make a claim against the council, just get in touch with our friendly and professional team. Start your claim online and we’ll take it from there.

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