Can I claim shopping centre car park accident compensation for a motorbike accident caused by hitting a pothole? Who do I claim against?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

If you were involved in a motorbike accident in a shopping centre car park which was caused by a pothole, you should be entitled to claim shopping centre car park accident compensation against the operator of the shopping centre. The shopping centre operator owes its visitors a duty of care to make sure that all areas of the shopping centre can be used safely, which includes the car park. If a pothole was present and was sufficiently large that it caused you to lose control of your motorbike and crash, then there is every chance that you will be able to successfully recover shopping centre car park accident compensation.

It is important that you report the accident to the shopping centre and make a record of in its accident book. It would also be helpful to obtain any CCTV footage of your accident, should the area where it occurred be covered by CCTV. It is common for shopping centre car parks to be covered by security cameras and you are within your rights to request a copy of any CCTV footage of your shopping centre car park accident.

You will need to submit a written request, stating the exact location, date and time that the accident occurred. It is important that the request is made promptly to ensure that the data is not erased. CCTV footage may also be used to establish the length of time that a hazard existed which can be invaluable when establishing that the shopping centre has been negligent for failing to organise repairs in a reasonable timeframe.

It will also help your case if you can return to the shopping centre car park to take photographs of the pothole which caused your accident. You should take photographs indicating its location, and of the pothole using an item of known size for scale. You should be able to clearly see the length and depth of the pothole in the photograph. You should also take photographs of any visible injuries and damage to your bike.

It is not clear from your question which injuries you suffered in the crash. In order to make a personal injury claim for shopping centre car park accident compensation, you must have sustained an injury in the accident and this must have been treated by a doctor or at the local hospital, even if you received first aid treatment in the shopping centre. A first aider is not qualified to complete the medical assessment form which must be sent to the Injuries Board alongside your application for assessment. Your injuries must also be detailed in your medical records if a claim for shopping centre car park accident compensation is to be made.

We recommend also seeking legal advice about making a claim for shopping centre car park accident compensation as soon as possible. If you choose to use a solicitor to pursue a shopping centre car park accident compensation claim on your behalf, you will receive assistance in obtaining CCTV footage of your accident, in addition to help preparing your application form. A solicitor will also contact the insurance company of the shopping centre in an attempt to negotiate a settlement of shopping centre car park accident compensation rather than waiting for the Injuries Board assessment.