Public liability insurance claim time limits
Most business insurance policies will contain different types of liability insurance cover. The three main ones are public, product and employers liability. Claims for damage to physical assets (for example storm damage to a building) are usually submitted soon after the insured event. This is not the case for liability covers, where claims can be submitted months or even years later.
What is public liability insurance
This is the cover to protect a business, form the financial costs, of any injury to third party persons or damage to property. Personal injury will also include illness or disease. The injury or damage has to be caused in the course of the business activities. A tradesperson working on a building drops a hammer and this hits a parked car. This is damage to property. If the hammer injures someone, this is of course third party injury. Both of these fall under public liability insurance. If we think of the same tradesperson going to buy lunch. They buy a drink and spill this in the shopping centre. If someone slips on this and is injures, the tradesperson could be held liable. But, this is unrelated to the business activities and would not fall under the business insurance cover.
Public liability claim time limits
The scenarios we’ve mentioned above would be claimed fairly quickly. The car owner may speak to their insurers, who would counter claim against the contractors insurance. If there was a personal injury, the injured party would claim against the contractor. They could either do this directly or via a solicitor. There are times though, when a claim is not made immediately.
Reason for delay in public liability claims
The main reason for delays in submitting a claim are finding out who has been negligent. This can happen where a larger business sub-contracts their work to others. Sub-contractors can also do the same and appoint others to undertake work. If the business at the end of chain causes damage, it can be difficult to identify the particular sub-contractor. Imagine you’ve parked your car near to the construction site for a large office block. You return to your care and find a piece of construction material has somehow fallen and damaged your car. You might make a public liability insurance claim against the overall contractor. If they choose to deny liability, it may take time to determine who is liable.
Personal injury claims can also be lengthy and problematic. Let’s reconsider the spilled drink above. If this happened in a restaurant, I could slip over and injure myself. At first, I just have a sore back and think nothing of it. It could be however, that there is a longer term injury caused. Whilst this is highly unlikely, it could happen. The real, long term, injury may not manifest itself until months later. It could be that I submit a claim to the restaurant many, many weeks after my visit.
Why do we have public liability claim time limits
We cannot have an open ended time limit for claims. It would become increasingly unlikely that negligence could be proven, or denied, months and months later. For this reason, in the UK, there is a three year time limit for submitting a claim. In reality, the vast majority are submitted within a few months. However, there are times when it does take longer.
Different time limits apply to children, those aged under 18. The three year time limit starts from their 18th birthday. This is irrespective of the date that the injury was suffered. It does not mean that a claim cannot be submitted until their 18.
Getting public liability insurance
We’ve mentioned above that businesses do not have to have this cover. In reality though, it is a sensible and prudent cover to have in force. If you’re looking for a public liability insurance quote, please give Jelf Clark Thomson a call on 03300 55 3444.