Personal Injury

Making a Claim for Personal Injury After Being Injured At Someone’s Home

If you or your child have received a personal injury whilst visiting someone else’s home, then you may be able to claim compensation if the injury was caused by the occupier’s negligence.

Can the occupier of a property be liable for negligence?

The Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 (the Act) imposes a duty of care on occupiers to all lawful visitors to ensure that they are reasonably safe for the purpose for which they are on the occupier's premises.

The extent of the duty is to take such care as is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purpose for which they are invited by the occupier to be there. The common duty of care applied may be greater when dealing with children or disabled visitors.

What is an ‘occupier’?

 "Occupier" means the person in control of the land, building, premises, shop, warehouse, car park, etc. In case law, the Act has been given a wide scope, covering ships, hovercraft, scaffolding and quaysides. The occupier can be a local authority, a company, or an individual.

What are lawful visitors?

There are three types of lawful visitor:

  • those with express permission, eg a person you invite into your house
  • those with implied permission, eg a person entering a shop
  • those with a right to enter, eg a police officer

Is there a duty of care owed to ‘unlawful visitors’?

Yes, but it is far less onerous than the duty owed to lawful visitors.

What are the defences available to the occupier?

There are four main defences available to the occupier.  They are:

  • the claimant contributed to the negligence
  • the claimant consented to a known risk
  • the occupier can discharge their common law duty of care by properly warning visitors of potential dangers
  • the occupier has limited their liability under the Act

How should I begin a claim for compensation?

The first step in claiming compensation is to contact a personal injury solicitor.  At the time of the accident, it is important that you obtain as much evidence as possible from the scene, for example, take photographs and obtain the name and contact details of any witnesses.  Make sure you also provide your solicitor with a copy of your medical records following the incident.

What if I cannot afford legal fees?

Most personal injury solicitors work on a ‘non win, no fee’ basis.  This means, if you lose your case you will pay little or no fee to your solicitor, depending on the agreement you have made with them.

Making a personal injury claim under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 can be complex.  To stand a good chance of receiving compensation, it is imperative that you instruct an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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