How To Sue Your Local Council | Personal Injury Claims Guide

By Cat Todd. Last Updated 27th February 2024. Have you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Do you have reason to believe that your local council was to blame? If so, there’s a chance that you could be eligible to receive compensation for your suffering.

In this article, we’ll explain how you could access this compensation by making a personal injury claim. To successfully sue your local council, you’ll need a strong set of supporting evidence to prove their liability, which may include photographs of the scene and cause of the accident, witness statements and a medical report from an independent expert. 

A man in a knitted hat lies on the floor in pain after slipping on snow

With years of experience, our trusted panel of personal injury lawyers can work with you to help secure the maximum compensation that you deserve. By expertly navigating the claims process on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis, you won’t have to pay them a penny if they don’t win your case for you. 

So, with nothing to lose and a payout to possibly gain, why not see what we could do to help you?

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Select a Section

  1. How To Sue Your Local Council
  2. How Can The Local Council Breach Their Duty Of Care?
  3. How Do I Prove A Claim Against The Council?
  4. What Is The Average Payout For A Public Liability Claim?
  5. No Win No Fee Local Council Claims
  6. How To Find A Quality Personal Injury Lawyer
  7. Extra Materials On How To Sue Your Local Council

How To Sue Your Council

Have you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Do you have reason to believe that your local council was to blame? If so, there’s a chance that you could be eligible to receive compensation for your suffering.

For a valid claim to be established, the following criteria must be met:

  • The local council owed you a duty of care
  • The local council was in breach of this duty of care
  • This breach caused you to suffer as a result

In simple terms, if the council failed to uphold their duty of care and caused you harm as a result, meaning that your suffering was preventable, then they could be held liable for their negligence.

However, making a claim against the local council can be particularly difficult and liability is often refuted. Some steps that you can take if you fall victim to an incident that you believe the council to be responsible for include:

  • Making a record of the scene of the incident 
    • If a defect such as a pothole caused the incident, it may help to photograph it comparatively to show its size. Using coins or tape measures in the image can help determine its depth.
  • Collecting any witnesses’ contact details
    • These could be used if statements are needed to evidence your case
  • Seeking medical attention for any injuries that you sustained
    • This should make a record of the incident in your medical notes
  • Sourcing a solicitor to handle your case for you
    • A personal injury lawyer could boost your case’s chances of success as well as maximize the compensation that you receive. However, it isn’t a legal requirement to instruct a personal injury solicitor.

Please be aware that personal injury claims have time limits within which victims are entitled to take legal proceedings. Typically, this limitation period is 3 years from the incident date or the date that you discovered that the local council was responsible for your injury. 

To learn more, please get in touch with one of our specialist advisors today for a consultation that you can trust.  Alternatively, please continue reading to learn more about different types of public place accidents that the local council could be liable for.

What Is The Local Council’s Duty Of Care?

Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, those in control and therefore responsible for managing public places must all follow public liability regulations. If you’ve suffered an injury in a public place incident and believe the council’s failings to adhere to these regulations were responsible, then you could be entitled to compensation for your suffering. 

Public places such as highways (roads), footpaths (pavements), parks, leisure centres and libraries are all operated by the council. Therefore, they are responsible for putting appropriate provisions in place to maintain users’ safety as is reasonably expected by law.

Whatever the circumstances of your public place incident, you could sue your local council providing you have reason to believe that their negligence was responsible for your suffering. 

For some examples of how the council could breach their duty of care, please see the next section or speak to one of our specialist advisors for information and support on your situation.

How Can The Local Council Breach Their Duty Of Care?

Public places such as highways (roads), footpaths (pavements), leisure centres and libraries are all operated by the council. Therefore, they are responsible for putting appropriate provisions in place to maintain users’ safety as is reasonably expected by law.

Whatever the circumstances of your public place incident, you could sue your local council providing you have reason to believe that their negligence was responsible for your suffering.  Below, we’ve provided some examples of how a council could breach their duty of care.

Pavement Accidents

Have you tripped on a pothole or uneven paving slab while walking down the street? Have you slipped on an ungritted walkway while emerging from a public building? 

Much of local councils’ responsibility falls under highway maintenance, including public roads and pavements. Whatever your situation, if the local council failed to prevent you from harm as their duty of care expects them to, you could be able to make a claim against them for your suffering.

For surface defects, you can typically establish grounds for a claim if they’re more than 40mm in depth. However, if you’re unsure whether you could have a valid claim, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today so one of our advisors can give you a free consultation on your situation.

Accidents On Public Roads

Have you struck a hazardous pothole while driving along the road? Have you been involved in a road traffic accident caused by a council vehicle?

The Highways Act 1980 outlines responsibilities that the council has in order to maintain the safety of public roads in Britain. Following this legislation, councils can construct a defence for themselves if they can prove that they put appropriate provisions in place to maintain this safety as is reasonably expected of them. 

But this means that these types of claims can be particularly difficult to make. The provisions that must be in place include:

  • Safety measures to tackle adverse weather like ice and snow that could affect surfaces
  • Undertake regular inspections for surface damage and the like in accordance with the volume of traffic and type of use
  • Address and remedy any known potential hazards as quickly as possible, alerting them to road users in the meantime

Leisure Centre And Library Incidents

Have you tripped on a loose gutter at your local swimming pool? Have you slipped on the ungritted staircase of your local library? 

As leisure centres and libraries are also types of council-operated public places, you could be able to make a claim against them if you were injured as a result of their negligence. 

As mentioned above, in order to have a valid claim, the council must have failed to put appropriate provisions in place to maintain your safety. For those in control of public places, this responsibility is outlined by law under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, which you can learn more about in the next section.

To learn more about how to sue your local council, please get in touch with one of our specialist advisors today for a consultation that you can trust.  Alternatively, please continue reading to learn more about accident statistics in council-operated public places and what to do if you find yourself in this situation yourself.

How Do I Prove A Claim Against The Council?

You might be wondering what steps you could take to help support a personal injury compensation claim. One of the most important steps when making claims against the council is gathering evidence.

Evidence is essential in a number of ways; it can help you prove that the council breached their duty of care, how severe your injuries are, and what you will need to do to recover.

Some examples of evidence that you could use to support a claim against the council include:

  • Witness statements: A professional can take witness statements if you note down their contact details.
  • Medical records: Your medical records can provide insight into physical injuries and emotional distress, as well as the treatment you will need to recover.
  • Photographs: Taking photographs of the accident site along with any visible injuries you sustained can be useful.
  • CCTV footage: If you were injured on council property and the injury was caught on CCTV, you may be able to request the CCTV footage.

If you choose to work with a solicitor to help you sue the council, they may arrange for you to undergo an independent medical assessment. During this assessment, an independent medical professional will review your injuries and write up a report.

Working with a solicitor can be very beneficial, as they can help you pursue other avenues of evidence. For example, they could talk to witnesses for you, and could help collect more relevant proof.

To find out how a solicitor from our panel could help you, contact our team of advisors today. Or, read on to learn more about how you could claim against the council for accidents in public spaces.

What Is The Average Payout For A Public Liability Claim?

If you’ve been injured in a public place accident and wish to sue the local council responsible for it, you may be wondering how much compensation you could be entitled to. 

Compensation for personal injuries is typically awarded according to two categories of damage; general damages and special damages.

General damages payouts aim to compensate victims for any physical or psychological trauma that they’ve suffered as a result of the council’s negligence. In this respect, anything from the pain of your injury to the emotional distress that you’ve experienced could be covered as part of your settlement.

Calculating General Damages With A Personal Injury Claim Calculator

Given that personal injury claims calculators can sometimes provide you with generalised compensation figures rather than accurate estimates, we recommend a consultation with one of our specialist advisors instead. Please call today to discuss your circumstances and see how much you could be entitled to.

In the meantime, please see the table below for some example compensation brackets from the Judicial College Guidelines for personal injuries (including psychiatric):

InjuryNotesAward
Multiple Severe Injuries + Special DamagesMultiple severe injuries as well as financial losses, such as the cost of travel and lost earnings.Up to £1,000,000+
Very Severe Brain Damage (a)Little to no response to meaningful environment and a need for full-time care.£282,010 to £403,990
Moderately Severe Brain Damage (b)Substantially dependent on professional care with significant disability.£219,070 to £282,010
Severe Neck Injuries (a) (iii)Injuries causing fractures, dislocations, or severe soft tissue damage.£45,470 to
£55,990
Severe Back Injuries (a) (i)The most severe injuries to the spinal cord and nerve roots.£91,090 to £160,980
Severe Back Injuries (a) (iii)Chronic injuries caused by disc lesions and fractures as well as soft tissue injuries.£38,780 to £69,730
Less Severe Arm Injuries (c)Significant disabilities will have been suffered but a degree of recovery is expected to or already as been made.£19,200 to £39,170
Less Serious Leg Injuries (c) (i)A reasonable recovery will have been made from a fracture but the person will be left with a limp or defective gait.£17,960 to £27,760
Moderate Foot Injuries (f)A permanent deformity due to displaced metatarsal fractures that also cause continuing symptoms.£13,740 to £24,990

Special Damages

Special damages could be claimed to compensate any financial losses that the local council has caused you to suffer or potentially encounter in future, such as:

  • Medical fees
  • Travel fees
  • Care costs
  • Income loss

The aim is to restore you to the financial position you were in before the accident, as well as taking into account any future losses.

To successfully recover special damages, you’ll need to supply evidence, such as bank statements, bills, invoices, and even bus tickets.

No Win No Fee Local Council Claims

Our panel of personal injury lawyers can navigate the claims process on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning you won’t have to pay them a penny if they don’t win your case for you. 

For those who are new to No Win No Fee agreements, they’re simply a fairer way of using legal help. There aren’t any upfront costs to pay and there’s no need to worry about hidden fees either. Therefore, you can rest assured that any financial risk typically associated with the process of making a claim is eliminated.

If your solicitor wins your case, then a payment typically referred to as a ‘success fee’ will be deducted from your compensation. However, this is a small percentage of your payout which is capped by law to prevent any nasty surprises. 

How To Find A Quality Personal Injury Lawyer

Making a claim against the local council can be particularly difficult. If you’re worried about the risk involved in making a claim, did you know that having a solicitor handle your case could significantly boost your case’s chances of success? 

At this point, you may be wondering how to find a No Win No Fee personal injury lawyer for you.

Since law firms can operate virtually, there’s no need for you to scour your local area for a solicitor near you. Instead, you can find the best legal help remotely. What’s more, online reviews can help you compare services to see which best suits your needs. 

Why not take a look at our reviews page today to see how well our clients rate us?

Contact Us About Your Claim

By getting in touch with our team today, one of our advisors can give you a free consultation on your situation, offering specialist legal advice and support. What’s more, if they feel that you have grounds to make a claim, they’ll connect you with our panel of personal injury lawyers to begin working on your case right away.

With years of experience, our trusted panel of personal injury lawyers can work with you to help secure the maximum compensation that you deserve. By expertly navigating the claims process on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis, you won’t have to pay them a penny if they don’t win your case for you. 

So, with nothing to lose, why not see how we could help you?

Extra Materials On How To Sue Your Local Council

Guides On How To Sue The Local Council

Thank you for reading our guide on how to sue your local council. We hope you’ve found it useful.

Guide by Mav

Edited by Bil