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Navigating the Path to Compensation: A Guide to Public Liability Claims

Public liability claims in Ireland are a common occurrence, arising from accidents that occur on premises owned or controlled by another party. The risk of these increases during the harsh winter months as slips, trips and falls on ice are more likely. 

Public liability claims can involve a wide range of injuries, from minor bumps and bruises to more serious physical and psychological trauma. If you have been injured in a public place due to the negligence of another party, you must understand the process of making a public liability claim. In this blog post, we discuss what public liability is, the criteria required to make a claim, the PIRB and the claims process.

What is Public Liability?

Public liability refers to the legal responsibility that an individual or organisation has to ensure the safety of others on or in their premises or while under their control. This duty of care extends to maintaining safe premises, providing adequate supervision, and taking reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm. When this duty of care is breached, and an individual suffers an injury as a result, they may have grounds for a public liability claim.

Key Elements of a Public Liability Claim

To establish a valid public liability claim, you must demonstrate the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed you a duty of care to ensure your safety.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached this duty of care by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm.
  3. Causation: Your injury was directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
  4. Damage: You suffered a compensable injury as a result of the accident.

Initiating Your Public Liability Claim

The first step in pursuing a public liability claim is to seek medical attention promptly to assess your injuries and document your condition. Once you have received treatment, it is essential to gather evidence to support your claim. This may include:

  1. Photographs or videos of the accident scene and any injuries sustained,
  2. Medical records and bills,
  3. Witness statements from individuals who witnessed the accident,
  4. Any documentation related to the premises or activity that led to the accident.

The Role of the Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB)

In Ireland, all non-medical negligence claims, including public liability claims, must first be submitted to the Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB) for assessment. The PIRB is an independent body that provides a fair and impartial mechanism for resolving claims without the need for lengthy and expensive litigation.

PIRB Assessment Process

The PIRB assessment process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Compensation Questionnaire: You will complete a detailed questionnaire outlining the details of your accident, injuries, and losses.
  2. Medical Assessment: You may be required to undergo a medical assessment to assess the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life.
  3. PIRB Assessment: The PIRB will review your claim and medical assessment and issue an assessment offer, which may include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and other expenses.

Seeking Legal Guidance

While the PIRB provides a valuable alternative to court proceedings, seeking legal advice from an experienced public liability solicitor is highly recommended. A solicitor can help you:

  1. Gather and organise evidence effectively.
  2. Navigate the PIRB assessment process.
  3. Evaluate your claim’s potential value and negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company.
  4. Represent you at PIRB hearings if necessary.
  5. Take your claim to court if the PIRB assessment is unsatisfactory.


Public liability claims can be complex, and seeking legal guidance early on can significantly improve your chances of success. Martin A. Harvey Solicitors has a team of experienced public liability solicitors dedicated to assisting individuals in pursuing fair and just compensation for their injuries. We understand the challenges you may be facing and are committed to providing personalised and effective legal representation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


+353-(0)21-4963400 / 4271006

Workplace Accident Claims: Know Your Rights

At Martin Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we are experts in personal injury claims, so we know that whether you are working on site or from home, work-related accidents are a significant concern.

In 2020, 7,417 non-fatal incidents were reported to the Health and Safety Authority, 96.3% of which were related to workers.

Of these reported incidents, the most common triggers were:

  • Internal injury due to manual handling
  • Slipping or falling
  • Loss of control of object, machine, vehicle, etc.
  • Aggression, shock, or violence
  • Body movement leading to an external injury, such as a cut or bruise

Consistent with these findings, is the fact that the back is the most commonly injured area for workers, making up 20.4% of injuries. (Source)

What to do if you experience a work-related injury

If you experience an accident at work or on your way to work, you should report it to your employer. If you are absent for three consecutive days (excluding the day on which the accident occurred), your employer should report this to the Health & Safety Authority.  For a full rundown on when and how employers should report these incidents, see this guide from the Health & Safety Authority.

Your employer has a duty to ensure your health and safety, including the provision of a risk-free workplace, adequate training, and proper facilities. (Source) Some workplace accidents occur due to negligence on the employer’s part if they do not adhere to health and safety legislation and fulfil their duty of care. 

If you do not have grounds to raise a workplace accident claim against your employer, there are several potential means of obtaining financial assistance in the event of a workplace injury. Your employment contract will tell you whether you can avail of paid sick leave. Note that your employer has no legal obligation to provide this to you. Alternatively, you may be able to avail of the Occupational Injuries Scheme, or, depending on the extent of your injury, illness benefit or disability allowance. (Source)

If you can prove negligence or a lack of fulfilment of legal obligations on the part of your employer, you can raise a workplace accident claim against them. To support your claim, it is important to document the incident. Determine if there were any witnesses or CCTV in operation at the scene of the accident. Seeking medical attention once the injury has occurred will also provide you with medical records to support your claim. In some cases, the employer may try to prove that the injured party holds some responsibility for the accident, which is called contributory negligence. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to seek advice from a solicitor, who can guide you through the claims process and ensure that you are awarded the rightful amount of compensation.

At Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we are specialists in the area of workplace accidents. We can provide professional advice with respect to your injuries and your particular rights regarding out of pocket expenses and the loss of your wages. Contact our team using our contact form on 021 496 3400 freephone or email us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

What to do after an accident in a public place

In recent months we have all been keen to make better use of the great outdoors and enjoy outdoor dining. With many new activities, pedestrian areas and outdoor dining spots opening up, this has meant that the rate of personal injuries and accidents occurring in public places is rising. 

At Martin A. Harvey, as one of the top personal injury firms in Ireland, we have been successful in securing compensation for clients who have had an accident or suffered an injury in a public place.

If you have been injured or had an accident in a public place, you should: 

  • Request that the owner of the property or an employee report the accident and document the circumstances, and provide you with a copy of this report;
  • Take photos where possible / if appropriate. Make sure you take as many as you can with varying angles to ensure a full picture can be obtained on review;
  • If you have been injured, make sure you seek medical help;
  • Speak to a solicitor.

If you feel that another party may be at fault following your accident, you should consider: 

  1. Did your accident happen in a public place?

This is the most important question you should establish – understanding the environment in which you were injured is vital in establishing who will be held responsible for your injury. By definition, a public place is: 

Any area that is intended for use by members of the public such as a road, outdoor area, vehicle that is carrying persons, or any premises that you have been granted access to by express or implied permission. 

Examples of these usually include pathways, roads and parks that are poorly maintained or have uneven surfaces, are littered with potholes or have obstructions on access routes.

  1. Was your accident avoidable?

For a claim to success, you or your legal team must prove that the accident was avoidable, ie: that the organisation in charge of the facility failed to keep the area free of danger to those using it. To prove negligence on behalf of the property administrator, you will need to demonstrate: 

  1. That the Local Authority or organisation had an obligation to the public to a) not to do anything or b) failed to anything that would cause you to be injured; 
  2. The Local Authority or organisation consciously made a decision that resulted in these points;
  3. It could be reasonably expected that an accident would occur as a result of this;
  4. That the Local Authority or organisation did not operate the standard of conduct to be expected, thus resulting in the injury.

No matter the circumstance of your accident, personal injuries specialists Martin A. Harvey & Co. are ready and available to provide legal advice that will ensure the best result for you. As a small team, you will be greeted with a friendly and personal service.

Call today (021) 427 1006, freephone 1800 396 396 or email maharvey@martinharvey.ie. We look forward to helping you.

Back to Work & Workplace Accidents


Under the Health & Safety at Work regulations in Ireland there are very clear obligations for employers to ensure the safety of staff and visitors on their premises and prevent workplace accidents.

If you are an employer, you have legal obligations to safeguard all people in your workplace. There are health and safety rules covering a wide range of issues such as the use of computers in the workplace, regulations on working with hazardous materials, construction regulations, manual handling regulations and many others.

Nervous about returning to work?

There is a need for increased vigilance when it comes to implementing health and safety procedures for employees soon returning to work. Hazard audits may not have been carried out during lockdown and there has certainly been reduced consultation between employers and employees in regards to real and perceived hazards.

The implementation of safety procedures to minimise new hazards has been sporadic, inconsistent or non-existent as a result of lockdown. Furthermore, resuming normal workplace activities after such a long period of enforced inactivity may result in a significantly altered workplace and new dangers and hazards. This comes with an increased risk around health and safety policy, procedures, and hazard audits.

It is at times like this, when we are most likely to forget about safety audits, that we must remember to proceed with them the most.

3 Easy Steps for Employers

Here are some simple steps that employers should consider in order to ensure that they are putting the safety of staff and visitors first.

1) Consideration should be given to possible changes in the workplace with an emphasis on new hazards. Carry out a full safety audit and hazard audit, ergonomic review and brief all employees before recommencing work.

2) After such prolonged absence, all staff should be refreshed on existing health and safety procedures, and updated on new health and safety procedures. These procedures will come about following the safety and hazard audit

3) New procedures and health & safety measures identified in the hazard audit of the new or enhanced work environment should be discussed fully with employees, and should be implemented comprehensively .

Had a workplace accident ?

Doctor’s appointments to attain medical reports for the Injuries Board process can be difficult to organise at the moment, but we can help you to arrange a medical review. The Injuries Board will accept applications filed by applicants or their injury solicitor without a medical report, which will help to speed up your case.

If you’ve experienced an injury in the workplace, please feel free to contact us here at Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors on 021-4963400 freephone or email us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

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