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Public Authorities – Know Your Rights

Public Authorities – Know Your Rights

We are generally lucky enough in this country to be blessed with public service providers that are honest, trustworthy and hard-working. Unfortunately, in exceptional incidents this may not be the case. Public authorities owe a duty of care to us, the public. In the unusual event that they fail to adhere to the appropriate standard of care, they could be liable for any accidents or injuries that occur as a result.

Public authorities include both central and local government, the police, the prison service, the education sector and housing associations. You may be thinking that these all seem particularly daunting people to make complaints about, let alone to enter into a legal battle with. Sadly, this is the way that many people feel. As a result, when they are victims of accidents that result from the negligence of such authorities, most people will not feel empowered to do anything about it.

On The Highway

Did you know that if you are the victim of an accident that occurs on a pavement, path or road, the local authority may be held responsible? This may be due to an uneven pavement, pot-holes, a trip hazard or any number of other things. The local council is duty bound to maintain the pavement to a safe standard. If they fail to do so, they may be considered to be negligent if somebody suffers an personal injury as a result. Every local authority should regularly inspect and repair any defects in the road or pavement to prevent accidents. If you are injured as a result of a local authority’s failure to keep the highway in a good state of repair, it is important to photograph any defect that caused you to trip or fall. You should also keep a record of any medical treatment that you need as a result.


Some of the most distressing accidents to cope with are those where the victim is a child. Accidents can unfortunately occur in school or nursery settings, where you would expect your child to be safe. Anybody who is in charge of one or more children should take every opportunity to minimize the dangers to them. If no proper health and safety precautions are put in place to minimize risk at an educational establishment, then they will be held responsible should an accident occur as a result. If you are concerned that your child’s school, nursery or other care provider has not acted properly to prevent accidents, then you should raise this immediately. They should then take action to correct the situation.

You or a member of your family may have been the victim as of an accident in one of these situations. There are also numerous other responsibilities placed upon public bodies and if you feel that you have been injured as a result of their negligence then you may be entitled to claim compensation.

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