It is estimated that over 16% of the UK population currently live in council owned housing. Although this represents a reduction when compared to years gone by, it still accounts for millions of people throughout the UK that live in social housing.
If you live in a council owned house and suffer a personal injury at home due to a poorly maintained council property, you could be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim against the local authority at fault.
As with private landlords, your local authority has a duty of care to make sure council housing is safe and to minimise the risk of injuries being caused to yourself, your family, and to any visitors. If they fail to do this, and you are injured in an accident, the council could be held responsible and ordered to pay compensation for your injuries.
As with all accident injury claims, it is essential that somebody else is at fault for the accident that has caused your injury. If you have tripped over a child’s toy or have slipped on some water that you have spilt yourself, you would not be able to hold the council responsible for the accident, even if it has happened in a council house.
Examples of some of the most common causes of council house accidents include the following:
- Accidents on stairs – this could include tripping due to loose or badly worn carpets and faulty or missing stair bannisters
- Faulty electrical items – cookers, ovens and other electrical appliances that are not properly checked and maintained can create the risk of burns, electrocutions and lacerations from sharp edges.
- Injuries caused by falling objects – this may include being hit by falling roof tiles or guttering.
- Accidents outside a council property – this includes trips and falls in gardens and on paths caused by loose paving slabs and damaged steps.
- Accidents in communal areas – for example, falling down stairs in a block of council flats due to poor lighting or slipping on a wet floor caused by a leak that has not been fixed.
In many of the above cases, these issues may have been reported to the local council by the tenant but have not been repaired. If faults such as broken stair bannisters are not fixed in a timely manner, it leaves the council house in a dangerous state and puts the tenant at risk of injury. Accidents under these circumstances are more likely to lead to the relevant council being held liable for compensation.
What to do if you have an accident in your council house
If you live in a council house and have had an accident at home which has resulted in a personal injury, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If your accident has been caused by some form of defect, such as a damaged staircase, it is a good idea to take photographs of the defect and the surrounding area. This will help to highlight the issue and can be used as evidence by a solicitor if you decide to pursue a claim for compensation.
As there are time limits for making a claim, it is important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. By receiving legal advice from an experienced solicitor, you can ensure that you understand your rights and know what options may be available to hold the local authority accountable for their failure to provide you with safe housing.
Can I make a compensation claim for my accident?
If you have had an accident in a council house within the past three years which was not your fault, and you have been hurt as a result of this accident, you could be eligible for compensation.
The quickest way to find out if you can make a claim is to contact an experienced team of personal injury lawyers. By calling free on 0800 678 1410 or requesting a call back, a trained legal adviser will discuss your accident. During your free consultation, they will ask you a few simple questions about your accident, such as what happened, when it happened and why you believe the council were at fault.
The legal adviser will also ask you to describe the injury or injuries you have suffered, whether you have received any medical treatment and if you are having any ongoing issues. This could include scars or ongoing treatment such as physiotherapy.
At the end of your free consultation, an injury solicitor will be able to confirm if you are eligible to make a claim against the local authority at fault for you accident. They will explain the process of making a personal injury claim, how much compensation you could be entitled to and answer any questions you may have.
The solicitors we work in partnership with specialise in personal injury compensation claims, including those made against local authorities. They work on a no win no fee basis, which means you can start your claim with no financial risk and no upfront costs, giving you complete peace of mind. As well as fighting hard to win the maximum amount of compensation you deserve, your solicitor can also help to ensure you receive the best medical treatment to aid your recovery.