Injury In A Graveyard

Graveyard And Cemetery Accident Claims

If you’ve suffered an injury in a graveyard as the result of someone else’s negligence, then you could be entitled to compensation. You or someone you know may have been involved in a cemetery accident. In this article, we’ll be covering this very topic. 

injury in a graveyard

The process of making a No Win No Fee claim for a slip, trip or fall in a graveyard can be difficult. You need to be able to prove that someone else’s negligence was the cause of your injuries. We’ll be discussing the forms of evidence you could obtain to help you do this. Certain injuries you could sustain as a result will also be included.

If you have any questions or issues at any point over the course of this article then get in touch. Our advisors are standing by to offer guidance regarding what steps to take following your injury in a graveyard. Read on for more information, including our contact details.

Get In Touch With Our Team

There’s more than one way you can get in touch with our advisors:

  • Call us on 020 3870 4868
  • Use the live chat window in the bottom right corner
  • Fill out our online form so that we can get back to you

Services And Information

  1. Everything You Need To Know About Claims For An Injury In A Graveyard Or Cemetery
  2. What Is An Injury In a Graveyard Or Cemetery?
  3. Cemetery And Graveyard Operators’ Duty Of Care
  4. Who Is Liable For Accidents In Graveyards And Cemeteries?
  5. Calculating Compensation For An Injury In A Graveyard Or Cemetery
  6. Health And Safety In Graveyards And Cemeteries
  7. What Hazards Could Be Present In Graveyards And Cemeteries?
  8. Slip, Trip And Fall Accidents In Graveyards And Cemeteries
  9. Graveyard And Cemetery Accident Claim Time Limits
  10. I Suffered An Injury In A Graveyard, What Should I Do?
  11. Claim For An Injury In A Graveyard On A No Win No Fee Basis
  12. Related Claims Resources
  13. FAQs About Graveyard Accident Claims

Everything You Need To Know About Claims For An Injury In A Graveyard Or Cemetery

An injury in a graveyard or a cemetery injury can cause a variety of issues. Ailments sustained in both locations could be claimed for, providing someone else’ was responsible for them.

It’s important to note that a graveyard often has a religious affiliation such as being attached to a church building. Cemeteries are usually run by local authorities such as the local council and will not often have religious ties. Therefore, who you make your claim against for a cemetery injury or graveyard injury will differ depending on the kind of burial site on which you were injured.

What Is An Injury In a Graveyard Or Cemetery?

One injury that could occur as the result of an injury in a graveyard could be a fracture due to a slip, trip or fall. This could be because of uneven ground or objects such as gravestones. There may also be damage to a path because of heavy or frequent foot traffic.

It is generally the responsibility of whoever is in control of the graveyard/cemetery to ensure it’s safe for people visiting the burial site of loved ones. However, some claims may be made against other parties. 

Although not specifically discussing fractures suffered in graveyards, the NHS reports that 1 in 2 women over 50 and 1 in 5 men in the same age group will experience a fracture as the result of a fall. These falls can also cause psychological issues too such as anxiety regarding another fall potentially occurring in the future.


Cemetery And Graveyard Operators’ Duty Of Care

The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 states that the party responsible for the area that’s accessible to the public takes responsibility for any unsafe conditions that may be present. This is known as a duty of care. If this duty of care is breached and causes injuries, then this is known as negligence. 

The duty of care is extended to all visitors who have been invited to visit the cemetery or graveyard to help prevent them from suffering an accident in a public place. The same duty of care is even extended to people who are present at the property who have not been invited. In other words, trespassers are also extended the same right to claim compensation for an injury in a graveyard caused by the occupier’s negligence.

If the occupier has taken all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of injury in the area they are responsible for, this could invalidate your claim. However, even if you feel you were partly to blame for your injuries, you could still receive a partial payout.

For example, if your claim is worth £10,000 and you are found to be 30% responsible for your injuries then you could still receive 70% of this amount. In this example, this would be £7,000.

Who Is Liable For Accidents In Graveyards And Cemeteries?

Someone could be injured in a cemetery but it wasn’t their fault. In cases such as these, the party in control of the premises could be responsible. This may be the local authority such as the council. 

However, depending on the cause of the injury (such as a falling gravestone) and circumstances surrounding it, other parties could be liable. For example, the Church Council or the owner of the gravestone (such as descendants) could be responsible.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a graveyard accident and suffered injuries, why not reach out to our advisors for free legal advice?

Calculating Compensation For An Injury In A Graveyard Or Cemetery

Compensation payouts are generally comprised of two main figures: general damages and special damages.

Firstly, let’s address general damages. This figure is paid to the claimant for the pain and suffering that they experienced due to their injury. It can be calculated using a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

The JCG contains an extensive list of injuries and what they could be worth in compensation. The amounts can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the recovery time.

We’ve included some examples, in the compensation table below, of what could be awarded in general damages following an injury in a graveyard or cemetery. These figures are taken from the JCG.

Injury Description Awarded For
Brain Damage Moderately severe: substantial dependence on others and a need for constant professional and other care. £205,580 to £264,650
Brain Damage Minor : in these cases brain damage, if any, will have been minimal. £2,070 to £11,980
Chest (c) Damage to chest and lung(s) causing some continuing disability. £29,380 to £51,460
Neck (b) Moderate: (iii) injuries which may have accelerated and/or exacerbated a pre-existing condition over a shorter period of time. £7,410 to £12,900
Neck (c) Minor: (iii) where a full recovery is made within three months. Up to £2,300
Back (c) Minor: (i) where a full recovery or a recovery to nuisance level takes place without surgery within about two to five years. £7,410 to £11,730
Shoulder Serious: dislocation of the shoulder and damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus causing pain in shoulder and neck etc. £11,980 to £18,020
Clavicle Fracture: level of the award will depend on the extent of the fracture. £4,830 to £11,490
Pelvis/Hip Moderate: (i) significant injury to the pelvis or hip but any permanent disability is not major and any future risk not great. £24,950 to £36,770
Pelvis/Hip Lesser: (ii) minor soft tissue injuries with complete recovery. Up to £3,710
Arm (b): serious fractures of one or both forearms where there is significant permanent residual disability whether functional or cosmetic. £36,770 to £56,180
Arm (d): simple fractures of the forearm £6,190 to £18,020
Elbow Severely disabling injury £36,770 to £51,460
Wrist (d): Where recovery from a fracture or soft tissue injury takes longer but is complete. Rarely exceed £9,620
Wrist (e): An uncomplicated Colles’ fracture In the region of £6,970
Thumbs Severe dislocation £3,710 to £6,360
Ankle Moderate: Fractures, ligamentous tears and the like which give rise to less serious disabilities such as difficulty in walking on uneven ground etc. £12,900 to £24,950
Face Multiple fractures of facial bones involving some facial deformity of a permanent nature. £13,970 to £22,470
Face (iii) Simple fracture of cheekbones for which some reconstructive surgery is necessary but from which there is a complete recovery with no or only minimal cosmetic effects. £2,180 to £2,810

Next, we have special damages. Special damages are calculated on a case-by-case basis so the figure can vary significantly. The compensation is awarded to the claimant to reimburse them for any additional outgoings and financial losses caused by the injuries.

For example, if your injuries cause you to miss time off work then you could suffer a loss of earnings as a result. The money you could have earned in this time could be considered eligible for inclusion in your special damages payment. Other things that could be included are damage to property, future loss of earnings, and even medical costs that couldn’t be covered by the NHS.

It’s important to maintain records of these outgoings to prove that they took place, and that they relate to your injuries. Evidence can include bills, receipts or invoices. 

For a more accurate, free valuation of your claim, why not call our advisors?

Health And Safety In Graveyards And Cemeteries

Health and safety issues in a graveyard and cemetery must be addressed by the authority for the area. For a graveyard injury, this is likely to be a church. For an injury sustained in a cemetery accident, the body responsible may be the local council or a private company.

The safety of gravestones and monuments may also the responsibility of these authorities. If there are instabilities in the ground, for example, a gravestone or monument could fall and cause crush injuries to visitors such as a serious break or fracture. These instabilities should be rectified when brought to an authority’s attention, as an extension of the duty of care owed to all persons who are present in the cemetery or graveyard.

What Hazards Could Be Present In Graveyards And Cemeteries?

There may be more potential hazards that could lead to personal injury accidents in a graveyard than people realise. For example, walls need to be maintained to a safe standard or the hazard should be reduced or removed if it poses a threat to visitors. If walls crumble or fall with someone nearby then it could lead to a graveyard accident and injury.

The maintenance of paths is also an important factor for the controller of the graveyard. Potholes, cracks and roots disrupting the surface of paving could all cause otherwise avoidable injuries. If it’s a gravel path then some of these issues may not apply. However, even gravel paths must be kept level to ensure the safe traversal of the path on foot.

If you trip over an unsafe path because paving was raised by at least 1 inch, and you’re injured as a consequence, you could claim.

Tree branches can become loose or even dislodged by factors such as adverse weather conditions or vandalism. This might not always be under the controller of the graveyard’s power to protect you against. However, if the controller is aware that a tree branch poses a risk, they should take reasonable steps to protect you against being injured by it. 

The stability of gravestones and monuments and even the stonework on the church itself could pose risks if they’re not properly taken care of, for example. If properly checked and maintained and any risks reduced or removed, injuries could be avoidable.

If your graveyard or cemetery injury was caused by a hazard other than this, then get in touch with us. Our advisors can let you know whether or not you may have a claim.

Slip, Trip And Fall Accidents In Graveyards And Cemeteries

Slips, trips, and falls can be a fairly likely cause of an injury in a graveyard. Due to being situated outdoors, factors like foot traffic and weather conditions can cause conditions to arise that could inflict wear, tear and damage to various parts of the premises.

Because of this, falls that could cause fractures upon collision with the ground could also cause injuries like cuts and concussions. Many of these injuries could lead to you being able to make a valid personal injury claim, providing they weren’t your fault.

Graveyard And Cemetery Accident Claim Time Limits

Personal injury claims will generally have a 3-year time limit for you to start a claim. This is generally from the date of the accident. Although, there are certain circumstances where this time limit is frozen or operates differently. We’ve included some of the more common caveats to this time limit below.

General Accident Claims

Whilst many personal injury claims will have to adhere to the 3-year time limit as stated in the Limitation Act 1980, there are exceptions. For example, some injuries may only be detected at a date later than the accident. The date that your injuries are diagnosed or brought to your attention as being caused or worsened by negligence is known as the date of knowledge. In certain instances, you could use the date of knowledge as the start date of your time limit.

You must be able to prove your date of knowledge is separate from the date of your accident. Medical records are a good way of doing this.

Child Accident Claims

Underage claimants cannot pursue their own claim until their eighteenth birthday. Because of this, their time limit is suspended until that date. A claim can still be made before that date but it must be done by an adult with the child’s best interests in mind. Someone such as a parent, guardian, friend or legal professional can fulfil this role. They would be known as a litigation friend.

If nobody claims on behalf of the child, they can do so themselves when they turn eighteen. They would have three years from the date of their eighteenth birthday to claim. 

Claiming On Behalf of Someone with a Reduced Mental Capacity

An injury in a graveyard could cause the claimant to suffer a reduced mental capacity as a result; for example, due to a blow to the head. However, their mental capacity may have been reduced prior to the accident due to a pre-existing condition. If either of these is the case then their time limit is suspended indefinitely. Pursuing a claim via a litigation friend is an option.

However, if their mental capacity returns, they would have three years to claim from the date of recovery. If it never returns, the time limit remains suspended.

I Suffered An Injury In A Graveyard, What Should I Do?

Following an injury in a graveyard, your initial priority should be to seek medical attention. Your health could suffer if you hesitate or skip this step. Even seemingly minor injuries could be the sign of a deeper injury. This step will also generate medical records which could help you at a later stage in the claims process.

You’ll need as much evidence as you can gather too. As well as your medical records, you can use proof like photographs of your injuries and what caused them and witness statements.

Legal guidance could also be very helpful on your journey to claiming the compensation you deserve. Our panel of specialist personal injury lawyers has worked on many cases similar to yours.

Claim For An Injury In A Graveyard On A No Win No Fee Basis

A No Win No Fee agreement means that you won’t owe your lawyer fees for their work following the conclusion of a losing case. If your case is successful then your lawyer will be paid a legally capped percentage from your payout (‘success fee’).

This percentage is small so that you truly benefit from the compensation. What’s more, it’s listed in the No Win No Fee agreement.

Other advantages to making No Win No Fee claims include:

  • No ongoing solicitor fees.
  • No upfront solicitor fees.
  • The success fee is taken only after the compensation comes through so that you’re not left out of pocket.

If you want to find out if you can work with our panel of lawyers on a No Win No Fee basis, then get in touch with our team of advisors today.

Contact Us

There’s more than one way you can get in touch with our advisors:

  • Call us on 020 3870 4868
  • Use the live chat window in the bottom right corner
  • Fill out our online form so that we can get back to you

Our advisors give free legal advice and are available 24/7. If you have solid grounds for a claim, they could connect you with our panel of solicitors. Our panel works with all of their clients on a No Win No Fee basis. 

Related Claims Resources

Here are some links to additional material you may find helpful.

  1. Our guide regarding how to sue on behalf of someone else.
  2. How to prove your loss of earnings.
  3. More information on slip, trip and fall accident claims.
  4. How to know if you’ve broken a bone: NHS advice.
  5. Find out more about litigation friends.
  6. Cemetery safety issues and more: Parliament.

FAQs About Graveyard Accident Claims

We’ve included the answers to some of the more common questions we’re asked.

What is the average payout for a personal injury claim UK?

Every claim is different. As a general rule, the more severe your injuries, the higher the amount of compensation paid out tends to be.

Is there a time limit on injury claims?

Most claims will have a 3-year time limit. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. We covered some of these earlier in this article.

Can I claim for pain and suffering?

Physical pain and mental suffering fall under general damages. General damages are paid to the claimant to address this suffering. Basically, you can claim compensation for mental injuries such as anxiety, as well as physical ones like fractures.

Can I claim compensation from the council?

If the council is responsible for acting negligently and has caused an injury in a graveyard by not maintaining the safety of the area, then you may have a valid claim. They have a duty of care to those who can access areas they control. 

Writer IB

Checked by HT