If you’re injured from tripping on a broken pavement, the property owner may be liable. However, if the pavement was in a public area, the municipality or council for that area may be responsible for maintaining it.
If you find yourself in this situation, then it’s important to understand what to do next and to understand what you should do next.
Common Injuries From Pavement Trips
There are a few common injuries associated with trips and falls on pavements. Those that tend to occur most often include:
- Sprained ankles
- Knee injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Head injuries
If you’ve suffered any of these injuries, then it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you fell on a pavement and didn’t immediately feel as if you’ve done any damage, it’s still worth getting checked out. Don’t forget that some injuries might not reveal themselves until a few days later.
Common Causes of Pavement Trip Hazards
There are a few common causes of pavement trip hazards. These include:
- cracked or uneven pavement
- raised or broken paving stones
- damaged street furniture
- tree roots breaking through the pavement
Is The Local Council Responsible?
If you’re injured from tripping on a broken pavement in a public area, the local council may be held responsible. This is because councils are generally responsible for maintaining public spaces, and in the UK, that’s a legal responsibility under The Highways Act 1980. It’s the council’s responsibility to make regular inspections, to have a plan in place to rectify any issues, and to keep records of both.
What are the Criteria for Making a Claim Against a Council?
For a pavement trip claim to be successful, there are some basic criteria that need to be met –
- The trip hazard must be at least one inch or 2.5 cm
- To have sustained an injury having tripped over the pavement hazard
- The council had failed to meet their statutory responsibilities
What Are The Next Steps?
To increase the likelihood of the success of your claim, there are steps that you should take. These include –
1. Get Medical Attention
If you’ve been injured, it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Not only will this ensure that you’re on the road to recovery, but also, a medical professional can document the injuries that have been sustained. This documentation may be used at a later stage as evidence in your claim.
2. Take Photographs of the Scene
If you’re able to, take photographs of the scene where you tripped and fell. Include in these photographs any visible hazards that caused you to trip. It’s also important to take photographs of any injuries that have been sustained.
Remember that 1inch or 2.5cm hazard? So, it’s important to show that in your photos. Now, not everyone walks around with a tape measure, but you could use something such as a 50p coin that is consistent in size to be able to show the height or depth.
When the council hears of the incident, they may rush to fix the issue. That means that it’s essential to get your photographic evidence as soon as possible, or you may have no case to present.
3. Speak With Witnesses
If there were witnesses to your accident, speak with them and get their contact information. These witnesses could later be called upon to provide a statement or testimony in support of your claim.
4. Keep All Documentation
Keep all documentation related to your accident, including any medical bills, loss of earnings, or any costs incurred because of the accident. This documentation will be necessary when making a claim.
It’s also recommended that you should keep a diary. This will come in handy if you need to provide evidence of the effect the accident has had on your day-to-day life. For example, if you were an avid runner before the accident, but now you can’t run because of your injuries, make note of that in your diary.
5. Contact A Solicitor
Contact a solicitor who specializes in personal injury claims and discuss your case with them. They’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action and help you through the process of making a claim.
Is it Necessary to Use a Solicitor?
You are not legally required to use a solicitor when making a claim against a council. However, it’s important to remember that councils have teams of experienced lawyers who will be working against you. Having your own lawyer level the playing field and gives you the best chance of success.
Most people wonder if a solicitor is necessary because they are concerned about legal fees, especially if their case isn’t successful. Because of this, many firms now offer to take on cases on a ‘No Win-No fee’ basis. This means that you won’t have to pay anything upfront, and if your case isn’t successful, you won’t be liable for any legal fees.
What Happens if My Claim is Successful?
If your claim is successful, you’ll be awarded compensation for your injuries and any other losses incurred because of the accident. The amount of compensation that you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries, how long it takes you to recover, and any other losses that have been suffered.
For example, if you’ve been unable to work because of your injuries, you may be compensated for the loss of earnings.
Included in your compensation may be recompense for the following –
- Pain and Suffering
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Permanent Injuries
- Disfigurement or Scarring
- Psychological Trauma
- Diminished Earning Capacity
How Long Does it Take to Receive Compensation?
The amount of time it takes to receive compensation will depend on the complexity of your case. Some claims can be settled in a matter of weeks, while others may take months or even years. However, once you have retained a solicitor, they will be able to give you a better idea of how long your particular case is likely to take.
What if the Council Denies Liability?
If the council denies liability for your accident, you’ll need to provide evidence to support your claim. This is where having witnesses and photographic evidence will be helpful. Your solicitor will also be able to investigate the accident and gather any other evidence that may be required.
If the council still denies liability after all the evidence has been presented, your case will need to go to court. This is why it’s so important to have a solicitor on your side, as they’ll be able to represent you in court and argue your case.
Making a claim against a council can be a complex and daunting task, but with the right solicitor on your side, you stand a much better chance of success.
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