The maintenance of public spaces, paths and roads fall under the responsibility of your local council. They are required to inspect and identify hazards that should be removed or fixed, such as cracked surfaces, damaged railings or missing lighting. If the council has failed to uphold its statutory duties and left an area in a dangerous condition for too long, they can be held liable for your injuries.
Defending such claims is made easier for local authorities because the courts have decided that the onus to prove council negligence should rest on the claimant. To prove liability, claimants must show that the council had known about the hazard before the accident. Furthermore, they must demonstrate that the council had reasonable time to inspect that area and should have repaired the hazard and removed the risk of injury.
A claimant will usually need to demonstrate that the hazard that caused them to sustain injury was present for a period of at least 6 months before their accident date.
To make a claim against a local authority or other land owner after a trip and fall on a broken pavement, the claimant must demonstrate that the defect (a raised edge, or hole, for example) met specific size requirements, usually a depth or height of over 1 inch.
Any defects found that have a vertical tripping edge of 1″ or more should be listed for repair and removed from the footpath as quickly as possible. If a hazard has been in situ for 6 months or more, it should have been highlighted for repair if the local authority correctly inspected the pavement in question.
Contact your council
The UK Government website can direct you to who to contact if you’ve been injured because of a hazard on a road or pavement.