Fortunately, most trips and slips on defects in the pavement result in nothing more than slight embarrassment or a perhaps a few cuts and bruises. However, a rise in damaged pavements due to cut backs in funding for Local Authorities means that some defects in the pavement such as raised paving slabs, potholes or uneven surfaces can often remain in disrepair and pose a risk of significant injuries should someone trip or fall. If you have suffered injuries due to a defect in the pavement then you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim.
The Highways Act 1980 provides that the relevant Local Authority is responsible for the maintenance of public roads and pavements so far as is reasonably practicable. There must be a system in place to perform regular checks of the pavement and roads and reported defects ought to be repaired in a reasonable time-frame. What is deemed reasonable is a question of fact and may vary depending on the location of the defect and the particular council in question.
Firstly, when considering making a claim for personal injuries against the Local Authority, the general rule is that the defect must be 1 inch high or deep. Where the defect is 1 inch or more in depth/height there is a significantly higher chance of the claim being successful.
Secondly, the defect must have caused injuries. The injuries sustained in the accident must be as a result of the defect.
Thirdly, it must be proved that the Local Authority is responsible for the injuries that have been caused by breaching their duty under s.38 and s.41 of the Highways Act. To prove this requirement it is important that you record as much evidence of the defect as possible. Photographs of the defect will largely support your claim for personal injuries. Photographs of a tape measure/ruler measuring the defect are especially helpful. Alternatively, photographs of objects near to the defect are a good way of showing the size of the defect by comparison.
Witness evidence will also be useful in support of your personal injury claim. Get contact details for anyone who witnesses the accident so that Witness Statements can be taken at a later date.
Fourthly, always seek medical attention for the injuries you have suffered. Getting professional medical attention ensures your injuries are recorded in your medical records as evidence that you suffered an injury as a result of the accident.
Finally, the Limitation Act 1980 provides a general rule that the “limitation period” for compensation claims relating to injury is three years. You therefore must ensure that the claim is filed at Court within three years from the date of the accident.
If you have suffered injuries due to a defect in the pavement which wasn’t your fault then please contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation to see whether you are eligible to bring a claim. Most pavement injury claims we deal with are on a “no win, no fee” basis. This means you will only pay if your claim is successful and so there is no upfront cost or financial risk to you. Call the team today on 0845 287 0939 or email us through our online contact form.