Trips And Slips On The Pavement
Thousands of people are injured in trips or slips on pavements each year and if you are one of them, you may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim.
Most such incidents result in nothing more than a small bruise or two, but some have serious consequences, including broken bones, concussion, deep lacerations and permanent scarring.
Local authorities have a legal duty to maintain the highway and pavements in a condition that is safe for pedestrians to use. If the council failed to fulfil its duty and a defective pavement or road contributed to your accident, you may be owed compensation for your injuries.
Liddy’s Solicitors is one of Yorkshire’s leading personal injury specialists and has vast experience of handling claims against councils related to trips and slips, so our experts are the ideal choice to advise you on your case.
Can I claim compensation for injuries suffered in a trip on pavement?
Many people who suffer injuries when they trip or slip in the street mistakenly believe they are to blame for the incident, when the cause is actually a defective or poorly maintained pavement.
Under the Highways Act 1980 councils have a duty to maintain roads and pavements, so must have a suitable system of inspections, repairs and upgrades in place. While it is unrealistic to expect all pavements to be as even as bowling greens and that councils can spot and repair every tiny crack, there is a recognised standard local authorities must achieve.
If the slip or trip that caused your injuries occurred because of a defect in the pavement, you may likely to have a strong case to claim compensation from the council (or whoever is responsible for maintaining that stretch of pavement). The defect could be in the form of a pothole, a raised paving slab or a large crack.
It is not unknown for defects of less than an inch to cause accidents that result in injuries, but compensation claims are unlikely to succeed in such cases, as it will probably be found that the defect was not serious enough to make repairing it a priority for the council. This varies from case to case though.
What should I do after being injured in a pavement trip or slip?
Your priority after suffering an injury in a slip or trip on the pavement should, of course, to be to seek medical attention. As well as ensuring you receive the correct treatment, this will ensure your injuries are properly recorded.
To make a successful personal injury compensation claim against the council, you will also need some evidence that the pavement had not been properly maintained. If possible, you should take the names and addresses of anyone who witnessed your accident and also take some photos of the pavement.
When taking photos of defective pavement it is sensible to include a ruler in them to show the extent of the damage, but if you do not have one available, a coin will provide a useful indication of the size of the defect. Try to take photos from all sides of the damage and also include some longer-range shots that display things like house numbers or shops, as this will show where the pavement is.
You should also report the accident to the local authority you believe to be responsible for maintaining the stretch of pavement concerned. It is a good idea to take photos of the defective pavement before sending your letter to the council, otherwise it may be repaired before you have had chance to collect the images.
How will Liddy’s personal injury solicitors help me?
Our personal injury specialists have handled lots of compensation claims against councils related to trips and slips on the pavement and can guide you through every stage of the process from initial consultation to negotiating a settlement or issuing Court proceedings.
We will help you to collate the evidence for your claim, as well as undertake tasks such as requesting disclosure of the council’s inspection records and carrying out a Land Registry search to establish that the local authority owns the land where the accident occurred.
Once we have all the information, we can begin the task of negotiating with the council (or private landowner, if the local authority was not responsible for the maintenance of the pavement) to settle your claim. This may involve dealing with accusations of ‘contributory negligence’, in which lawyers acting for the defendant suggest factors such as drunkenness or not wearing spectacles were partly to blame for the accident, or an initial refusal to accept any liability for the incident.
In most cases, we are able to agree appropriate damages that ensure you are suitably compensated for your injuries. However, if it proves impossible to reach a fair financial settlement or if the council is uncooperative, we would issue Court proceedings on your behalf.
We understand that the prospect of making a personal injury claim can seem daunting, so our whole approach is designed to ensure the process is as straightforward and stress-free as possible for you.
For an initial discussion about your pavement accident claim, please fill out the ‘How Can We Help You?’ form on the left of the page, call us at our Barnsley office on 01226 731314 or contact our Wakefield office on 01924 780753.