Who Is Responsible For My Accident?

If you suffer a slip, trip, or fall which causes you injury, there are a number of different possibilities when considering who may be responsible. Largely, this is dependent on where you suffered your accident. However, it is important to keep in mind that if you were in some way negligent, you may be responsible yourself!

Private Occupiers

If your accident took place on property which is owned by a private individual and which you were visiting for a legal purpose, you may have been owed a duty under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. Even if you did not have permission to be there, you may be owed a duty under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1984. The important thing when considering this area of law is to ascertain exactly who the ‘occupier’ may have been, because this is the person from whom you should seek compensation. Keep in mind that the occupier is the person who has control of the property, and is not always the same person as the owner.

Employers

If your injury was suffered at work, you may wish to investigate the responsibility that your employer has for your safety. The key here is to ascertain whether there was an employment relationship between you and your employer at the time of your accident. It is usually not possible, for example, to sue your employer if your accident took place outside of work hours. If there was an employment relationship, you may be able to sue for breach of a range of common law duties, as well as potential breach of the statutory duties which are laid upon employers by the Government. This is a particularly useful category under which to seek compensation, as all employers are obliged to take out insurance to cover such claims.

Public Bodies

In some instances, your injury will have taken place in a public area, which is not owned by a private body and which is not connected with your employment. In these cases, it is sometimes possible to sue the local authority for compensation, but only if they owe a duty of care to the public at large in that particular area. The classic example is the public highway, which local authorities are bound by statute to maintain in a fit state. If you slip, trip, or fall on a badly maintained pavement, you may be able to sue the local council.

Contributory Negligence

Of course, as with all claims for damages under the law of tort, your compensation may be reduced if the court finds that you were partially responsible for your own injury. This is known as contributory negligence, and in extreme cases, it can mean that you will not receive any compensation at all. Be realistic with your claim. If you genuinely think that another party is to blame for your injury, then you should sue. If, in reality, it was entirely your fault, it is best to chalk the matter up to experience and move on!

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