• Unusual occupiers liability claims

    When it comes to occupiers liability accident claims, there are many types of situation where a person can suffer injury when visiting someone else’s premises. Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, an occupier has a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of their visitors. To succeed in a claim, it is necessary to prove that the occupiers failed in their duty to take reasonable care and that this caused the injury complained of.

    An occupier has a responsibility to ensure that a visitor is reasonably safe in visiting the property for the purpose for which they are permitted or invited to be there. Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 a party will be an occupier if they have sufficient control over the premises that lack of care by them could cause injury. An occupier is not necessarily the owner; it could be a tenant or licensee who has the occupier’s liability. It is possible for there to be more than one occupier of a premises. The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 will only apply where a person is an authorised visitor. The Occupiers Liability Act 1984 however sometimes enables claims to be made by unauthorised visitors.

    If you suffer injury in an accident whilst visiting the premises owned or occupied by someone else, you could be entitled to make a claim against the occupier. The duty is not a strict liability to prevent all accidents occurring. It is duty to do what is reasonable in the circumstances, taking into consideration the nature of the risks and the costs of avoiding them and the care/lack of care that the occupier can expect from visitors. The duty to ensure that children are safe when visiting premises is greater the duty owed to an adult. It is accepted that children are likely to be less careful and a greater standard of care is required.

    To bring a successful claim, it would have to be established that it was foreseeable that children would come on to the property and that the occupier allowed a hazard there that was foreseeably dangerous to children. When presenting a claim it is helpful for evidence to be supplied to include:

    • photographs of the accident scene
    • details of any signage
    • confirmation as to whether the incident was reported and if so, to whom
    • identify potentially how the defendants could have taken reasonable steps to have avoided the danger.

    Brachers has recently handled a number of accident claims against occupiers. This included a claim against South Eastern Railways when a disabled passenger became stuck in a faulty lift. Although the fact that the lift broke down was not foreseeable, the claim was successful on the grounds that the occupier’s staff encouraged the claimant to jump out of the lift onto the platform from a significant height, when clearly it was not safe to do so. This resulted in an accident and avoidable injury. The claimant should have been given an alternative safer method of escape by the occupier, especially given his disability.

    Natalie Marsh specialises in occupiers’ liability and other personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis. If you have been injured on other’s property please contact her on 01622 680428 for free advice.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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