If you have suffered an injury whilst travelling on a public road or by public transport, you may be liable to make a claim against the organisation or individual responsible for your injury *. On this page you will find general advice regarding the types of accidents that are frequently the basis for making a claim *.
In the case of pedestrians on the road there is an increasing obligation on pedestrians to be responsible for their own safety. If they’re walking at night they need to ensure that they’re wearing high visibility reflective clothing for instance, that they take proper care before crossing the road and use pedestrian crossings where available, etc. That said, there is of course an overriding obligation on other road users to take care not to injure pedestrians and claims for personal injury as a result of the acts of negligent drivers and other road users causing injuries to pedestrians will be based on the same principles as any other road traffic accident.
What about trips, slips and falls and accidents occurring to pedestrians as a result of hazards in public places?
In the context of liability for accidents in public places where the area in question is “in charge” (which means that it is under the control and maintenance of a local authority) two very important and different concepts need to be considered when determining whether there will be any liability on the part of the local authority: malfeasance or nonfeasance.
Malfeasance, as the presence of the term “mal” in the word suggests is when something is done badly. This arises where the local authority has carried out some works and has done so in a negligent or dangerous fashion, for instance using poor design or construction methods. Where a local authority can be shown to be guilty of malfeasance and someone has been injured in a public place as a result, there will be a good cause of action for any injuries suffered in that context.
Nonfeasance, on the other hand, refers to the situation where the local authority has done nothing at all and the situation has simply arisen due to normal wear and tear or natural deterioration in conditions over time. Where a hazard in a public place has come about as a result of nonfeasance, then the local authority will not be found liable for any injuries or damage suffered as a result.
Expert engineering evidence will be critical in determining whether malfeasance or nonfeasance gave rise to the conditions that lead to the accident and, therefore, it will be very important to arrange an engineering inspection as soon as possible after the accident occurred with a view to having the scene examined before there is any subsequent change to the conditions.
Property owners and those responsible for premises onto which members of the public are invited have a duty to ensure that their property is generally safe and free from hazards. This entails having reasonable systems in place to ensure that if hazards arise they are contained and removed in a reasonable fashion. Typical examples would include liquids or oils which if left unattended on surfaces in public places may pose a serious risk of slips and falls causing injury. There should be systems in place to ensure that incidents arising are contained and removed.
Ice is also an issue and can be a serious trip hazard. The Attorney General has provided guidance on the obligation of home owners to keep their premises ice free and effectively said that there is a very high threshold to establish negligence on the part of a homeowner in a private domestic setting.
However, quite different considerations apply in the case of commercial premises where businesses are inviting members of the public onto their premises to purchase goods and services and engage in trade for profit. In those circumstances, there will generally be a much heavier onus on the business operator to ensure that the business premises is safe.
Bus and Rail Accidents
In the context of bus and rail and public transport generally, typical issues would include the risk of injury when passengers are boarding and alighting transportation and moving about on moving vehicles for that purpose. If the vehicle stops or jerks suddenly passengers can be thrown awkwardly causing injury.
Road Transportation and Haulage Accidents
Apart from general considerations whether heavy goods and haulage vehicles are involved in road traffic accidents, specific issues involving haulage would include issues arising from when objects have come loose from construction and delivery trucks which can give rise to serious injuries.
About McCarthy + Co
With more than 30 years of experience in dealing with personal injury claims *, McCarthy + Co. has expertise in a wide variety of fields including workplace and road traffic accidents. We are a family-run business, who pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial and helpful advice.
Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork but we have worked with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance and assistance on any form of personal injury *.
If you have suffered an accident on public transport, get in contact with our personal injury solicitors today to make a start on your claim * or gather more information. Call us on 1800 390 555 and an experienced member of staff will discuss your situation and potential next steps. You can also email on email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.