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Home Public Liability Insurance How to Make a Public Liability Claim On Your Insurance

How to Make a Public Liability Claim On Your Insurance

At Tradesman Saver, we understand that navigating the process of claiming against your public liability insurance can seem like a daunting task. However, we’re here to guide you through the steps with clarity and precision. Our aim is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the claims process, ensuring that you’re well-prepared and confident should the need arise.

What is Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance is a foundational pillar for businesses, acting as a protective shield against unforeseen financial burdens. It’s designed to cover claims made by members of the public who might suffer injury or property damage due to a business’s operations.

For instance, if a customer slips in a store or if a contractor damages a client’s property while working, public liability insurance steps in. It’s not just about accidents; it’s about ensuring that businesses can operate with the confidence that they’re protected against unexpected liabilities. In today’s litigious society, having this insurance isn’t just recommended; it’s often seen as essential.

Public Liability Insurance vs. Other Business Insurances

Public liability insurance is just one piece of the business insurance puzzle. Here’s how it compares to other types:

  • Employers’ Liability Insurance: While public liability covers claims from the general public, employers’ liability is specifically for claims from employees. If an employee gets injured or falls ill due to work-related activities, this insurance covers the compensation costs.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: This is for professionals who offer advice or services. If a client claims that your advice led to a financial loss, professional indemnity insurance covers the legal fees and compensation costs.
  • Product Liability Insurance: If you manufacture, sell, or distribute products, you’re liable for their safety. This insurance covers claims of injuries or damages caused by one of your products.

Each insurance type addresses different risks, ensuring that businesses have a safety net for various scenarios.

Understanding Your Public Liability Insurance Cover

Your public liability insurance is a vital safeguard that covers the costs associated with claims made by members of the public for personal injuries, property damage, or even fatalities resulting from incidents occurring on your premises or in public spaces due to your work. It’s crucial to note that your coverage isn’t just limited to compensatory payments; it also typically extends to legal fees, providing you with additional peace of mind.

The coverage limits can vary based on your policy terms, usually ranging from £1 million to £10 million. This variation emphasises the importance of thoroughly reviewing your policy to grasp the extent of your protection. However, it’s important to remember that public liability insurance does not encompass injuries sustained by your employees; these situations are generally covered under employers’ liability insurance.

What to Do Immediately after a Public Liability Accident?

When faced with an incident or accident, time is of the essence. Your swift actions can significantly impact the outcome of the situation. First and foremost, prioritise minimising any potential damage or injuries. This may involve seeking medical attention for the injured party or taking steps to prevent further harm.

It’s imperative that you refrain from admitting blame during this stage. Should a claim be filed, a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine the sequence of events and assign responsibility. Even if the circumstances appear straightforward, hidden complexities might emerge, underscoring the importance of maintaining a neutral stance.

What Notes Do I Need to Make After the Accident?

Creating a comprehensive record of the incident is a critical component of the claims process. Be sure to document the following:

  • Details of the Incident: Capture a thorough account of what transpired during the event. Highlight the sequence of events, the location, and any contributing factors.
  • Date and Time: Note the exact date and time of the incident, as this information is crucial for accuracy.
  • Witness Information: Gather names and contact details of individuals present at the scene. Their testimony can provide valuable insights.
  • Photographic Evidence: Whenever possible, take photographs that illustrate the scene, damages, and any relevant context.
  • Witness Statements: Obtaining statements from witnesses can provide an objective perspective on the incident.

When Do I Contact My Insurers?

Taking proactive steps to notify your insurers promptly can expedite the claims process. Even if the injured party has yet to file a claim against you, reaching out to your insurers is recommended. They can verify whether your public liability insurance encompasses the incident and offer guidance on the subsequent steps.

Expect your insurers to outline the necessary actions or interventions, such as the potential involvement of a loss adjuster or the appointment of a solicitor to handle legal matters. Remember, your insurer is a valuable resource during this process and can provide clarity on complex matters.

Here at Tradesman Saver, we’d prefer it if you notified us as quickly as possible. That way, we can start the initial paperwork and we’re ready to analyse any claims as soon as they are made.

What Information Should You Give to Your Insurance Company?

When communicating with your insurance company, ensure you provide the following information:

  • Your Details: Furnish your personal and company information, including your insurance policy number and contact information.
  • Details of the Claimant: Share the particulars of the individual who is making the claim against you.
  • Incident Details: Be thorough in conveying the specifics of the incident. This includes the date, time, location, and a comprehensive description of what transpired.
  • Damage Estimates: If feasible, provide estimates of the damages incurred and potential repair costs.
  • Injury Information: In cases involving personal injury, supply additional information about the injuries sustained, including treatment details and any impact on work responsibilities.

Tips for Preventing Public Liability Claims

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some proactive measures:

  • Regular Safety Audits: Periodically inspect your business premises. Identify potential hazards and rectify them. This not only prevents accidents but also demonstrates your commitment to safety.
  • Employee Training: Equip your employees with the knowledge and tools to operate safely. Regular training sessions can keep safety protocols fresh in their minds.
  • Clear Signage: Whether it’s a wet floor or a construction zone, clear signs can alert the public and employees, reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Incident Reporting System: A system where employees can promptly report risks or incidents ensures timely action and documentation.

Navigating the Public Liability Claim Process

Once you’ve registered a claim with a reputable insurer, they’ll guide you through the subsequent stages while keeping you well-informed about the progress. Expect your insurer to diligently investigate the circumstances to ascertain liability swiftly. This commitment to a comprehensive evaluation is pivotal in resolving claims efficiently.

The Role of a Solicitor in Public Liability Claims

A solicitor is more than just a legal representative; they’re your advocate and guide. They can:

  • Offer Expert Legal Advice: They can help you understand the nuances of your claim, potential outcomes, and the best course of action.
  • Gather and Present Evidence: A solicitor can help collate necessary evidence, ensuring it’s presented effectively to strengthen your case.
  • Negotiate with the Other Party: Often, claims can be settled out of court through negotiations. A solicitor can handle these discussions, aiming for a favourable outcome.
  • Represent You in Court: If the claim goes to court, your solicitor will represent your interests, ensuring your case is presented effectively.

Impact of a Successful Claim on Future Premiums

A successful claim can be a double-edged sword. While it means your current financial burden is alleviated, it might lead to higher insurance premiums in the future. Insurers calculate premiums based on risk, and a past claim can flag your business as a higher risk. However, all is not bleak:

  • Risk Management: Implementing robust risk management practices can demonstrate to insurers that you’re proactive about preventing future claims, potentially mitigating premium hikes.
  • Shop Around: If your current insurer raises your premium, consider shopping around. Different insurers have different risk assessments, and you might find a better deal elsewhere.

Understanding Claim Rejections

It’s disheartening when a public liability insurance claim is rejected, but understanding the reasons can help:

  • Lack of Evidence: Insurers need concrete evidence to validate claims. Ensure you document incidents meticulously.
  • Policy Exclusions: Every policy has exclusions. It’s vital to be familiar with what’s not covered to avoid surprises.
  • Breach of Policy Terms: Non-adherence to the policy’s terms, like not reporting an incident in time, can lead to rejections.

If you believe the rejection was unjust, it’s worth consulting with a solicitor. They can review the case and advise on potential appeals or next steps.

What are some common examples of public liability claims?

Below are some common examples of public liability insurance claims affecting tradespeople in the UK. Typically, these public injury claims would be covered by public liability insurance, unless there are any other factors which aren’t mentioned below.

Slip on a Wet Floor:

A plumber is called to fix a leak in a customer’s bathroom. While working, water spills onto the floor. The customer, unaware of the wet floor, slips and injures their wrist.

Claim: The customer claims for medical expenses and loss of earnings due to the injury.

Damaged Property During Renovation:

A carpenter is hired to install new cabinets in a kitchen. During the installation, they accidentally drop a heavy tool, damaging the customer’s expensive tiled floor.

Claim: The homeowner claims for the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged tiles.

Electrical Fault Leading to Fire:

An electrician installs new lighting in a client’s living room. A fault in the wiring leads to a fire, causing damage to the room and its contents.

Claim: The client claims for the cost of repairs to the room and replacement of damaged furniture and electronics.

Injury from Falling Tools:

A roofer is repairing a roof, and a hammer falls from the rooftop, hitting a passerby on the street below.

Claim: The injured individual claims for medical expenses, pain, suffering, and potential loss of earnings.

Chemical Burns from Materials:

A painter uses a strong chemical to prepare a wall for painting. A child in the house comes into contact with the wet wall and suffers chemical burns.

Claim: The parents claim for medical treatment costs and emotional distress.

Get Expert Guidance with Tradesman Saver

Navigating the world of public liability claims can be intricate and overwhelming. But you don’t have to go it alone. At Tradesman Saver, our team of seasoned experts is ready to assist. Whether you have questions about your policy, need guidance on a claim, or are looking for comprehensive public liability insurance to protect yourself, your business and the general public, we’re here to help. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Public Liability Claims

How long does it take to make a public liability claim?

The claim process’s duration is influenced by the claim’s complexity, the amount of evidence available, and the parties involved. While some straightforward claims can be resolved in a few weeks, more intricate cases, especially those requiring legal intervention, can extend for several months or even longer.

What are the common reasons personal injury claims are denied?

Claims can be denied for a myriad of reasons. Lack of substantial evidence, incidents not covered under the policy, or breaches in the policy terms by the insured are common grounds. It’s crucial for businesses to be familiar with their policy’s terms and conditions to avoid such pitfalls.

Do I always need a solicitor to claim against public liability insurance?

Not always. For straightforward claims, direct communication with the insurer might suffice. However, for complex cases, denied claims, or when large compensation amounts are involved, having a solicitor can be invaluable. They bring legal expertise, ensuring that your rights are upheld and that you navigate the process effectively.  Your insurer will appoint a solicitor from their panel of experts to represent you and get the most favourable outcome with the claimant.

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