Public Accident Claims

Accidents can occur anywhere in Public places : on roads, footpaths, shops, restaurants etc. Many of these accidents may involve for example, slips and falls on spillages in shops or supermarkets or trips and falls on poorly maintained or defective footpaths or roadways.

If you have been injured, the owner or occupier of the property where the accident occured may be held responsible.

Owners and occupiers of public and private property have a duty to take ‘reasonable care’ to ensure visitors safely enter and leave the premises not injured.

This duty includes keeping their property reasonably clean and safe as well as taking reasonable and adequate steps to correct any hazardous conditions if they arise on their property. Any hazardous defects should be dealt with by the person responsible for the property.

Occupiers Liability Act 1995 

The above Act places an obligation on the occupier of the premises in terms of a duty owed to the visitor, which can be seen here:

An occupier of premises owes a duty of care (“the common duty of care”) towards a visitor thereto except in so far as the occupier extends, restricts, modifies or excludes that duty in accordance with section 5

The common duty of care means a duty to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances (having regard to the care which a visitor may reasonably be expected to take for his or her own safety and, if the visitor is on the premises in the company of another person, the extent of the supervision and control the latter person may reasonably be expected to exercise over the visitor’s activities) to ensure that a visitor to the premises does not suffer injury or damage by reason of any danger existing thereon.

The above ‘Duty’ imposed on the occupier of a premises is not an absolute duty in terms of the extent of obligation owed by them, but rather to carry out reasonable care and prevention steps.

Post Accident Tips:

Report the accident to the owner or an employee while recording the date/times, location and witnesses present.

Keep a written record of the particulars of the accident, the medical care undertaken with the dates, locations etc. and receipts for the costs incurred.                                    

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Liability claim mean ?

A liability claim is a personal injury* claim brought by an injured party due to negligence caused by another party. If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, which basically means you will have a right to seek a legal remedy for this wrong. Tort law is there to protect people from harm and injury and attach legal responsibility to anyone who causes the harm.

What is a personal injury* claim ?

This is answered above.

How long after an accident can you file a claim in Ireland ?

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another and wish to pursue an action to recover damages, you must begin this action within 2 years of the accident in question by registering it with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

This is a strict legislative rule which has an exception for exceptional circumstances only.

Also, one must within one month from the date of the incident notify the allegedly offending party of their intention to initiate a claim.

What happens if you have no Public Liability Insurance ?

It is good practice and arguably an essential business cost to have in place liability insurance when provided services to the public. It is not compulsory to have this insurance cover type like it is have to have vehicle insurance which is required by the Road Traffic Acts. 

Do I need Public Liability Insurance as a business owner ?

If a business has no public liability insurance cover, they can be exposed in terms of legal actions taken against them.

Do I need Public Liability insurance as a Sole Trader ?

We would say this is absolutely imperative as sole traders do not have the benefit of the corporate veil ie a company entity and can therefore be held personally liable to an injured party.


Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.

In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. 

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