How do I know if I have a valid claim for tripping accident compensation?

38 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

Tripping accidents can happen almost anywhere, from residential streets to busy shopping areas.  Wherever your trip happened, you will want to know whether the circumstances will enable you to claim. Just because you’ve been injured, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a valid claim for tripping accident compensation.  So how do you know whether or not you are entitled to a settlement if you trip on a damaged footpath, fall in a pothole or any other accident?

Whose fault was the accident?

Clearly, if your fall was your own fault, you can’t claim personal injury compensation. Therefore, the first question to ask yourself is: Was someone else responsible for the accident?

If you can answer that with a yes, then you may well have a claim for tripping accident compensation.  The basic rule of thumb regarding liability is that a claimant must be able to prove two things.  Firstly, that the hazard that caused them to trip sticks up or goes down from the surrounding surface level by more than 25mm (1 inch).   This can be done easily.  The second, and more difficult requirement, is that a claimant must demonstrate that the hazard responsible for their fall has been in place for at least 6 months.  To find out more about your rights, contact us today. We can advise you of ways to ensure that your claim will be supported by evidence strong enough to enable you to win compensation.

Reporting the accident

If you have tripped on a public footpath or privately owned area of ground, the 2nd question you should ask yourself is: Did I report the accident and ensure that it was properly recorded?  For example, have the details been recorded in an accident book?

The details of your accident and injuries need to be reported to the right people.  If you’ve tripped on a public footpath, you must report to the relevant department of the local authority responsible for the area in which you fell.  You should describe the hazard location, what the hazard is and what injuries  you’ve had and what medical treatment you have received.  If you have tripped on private land, such as in a car park of a shop, business premises or restaurant, you must make every effort to ensure that the party responsible for running the premises is informed.

By recording the incident, you are providing proof that it happened on their premises, that your injuries were caused on their patch.  Unless you are severely injured and incapacitated, you should report your accident and injuries immediately and ensure that they are noted in an accident book.  If the 3rd party tell you they don’t have an accident book, or won’t let you have access to it, there are things you can do.  If this is the case look for a witness and get their details.  If you can’t do that, take photos or send a letter by recorded delivery (keeping a copy for yourself with proof of postage) reporting the incident to the business or establishment.

Injury severity

The 3rd question is: Were you sufficiently injured to seek medical treatment from a hospital or your GP?

What severity of injury warrants a claim? If you haven’t had medical treatment, it is likely that your injuries will not be seen as sufficiently serious to warrant a claim for compensation.  This is because medical evidence is needed to support your claim.  If you have been suffering in silence and haven’t seen the GP, you still can.  If the GP is happy to note that your injuries are consistent with those suffered as a result of a slip or trip, you can then prove your injuries and pursue a claim.  Generally speaking, injury symptoms need to last for 4 weeks to meet the minimum criteria needed to pursue a claim.

Making a claim

To form the basics of a successful claim for tripping accident compensation, these are the criteria you need to check to see if you can claim:

  • Was the accident someone else’s fault?
  • Do you know the identity of the liable party (local authority or business name & address etc)?
  • Did you report the incident to the landowner or local authority?
  • Have you sought medical treatment from your GP or Hospital?
  • If not, are your injuries still presenting symptoms that your GP can diagnose?

If you can answer the above positively, you may well be entitled to pursue a claim on a No Win No Fee basis. Our solicitors will claim for the following on your behalf:

  • The pain and distress caused to you by the injuries sustained (the value of the injury element of the claim will be determined by medical evidence and a review of your medical records)
  • Associated costs and losses (special damages) – such as lost income if you are unable to work as a result of the injury or damage to personal items – such as your spectacles or mobile phone and property
  • Restrictions on your ability to fulfil your usual activities and social life
  • Whether or not you have required any post accident care

If you have any questions about whether or not your accident scenario warrants a claim, or if you wish to discuss the No Win No Fee claims process with us, please call our team on 01225 430285 or use our contact form.  We know your rights and can give you advice and support using the knowledge and experience we have gained in the many years that we have worked in this industry.  We’ve successfully helped numerous clients with claims for compensation after being injured where they have tripped on damaged or uneven pavement surfaces and we’d love to help you if you have suffered the same problems.

38 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

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Questions & Answers

  1. Neil

    My springer spaniel was injured by a pothole out side my back garden do I have any rights to claim my vets fees against the council

    • Ian Morris

      You could certainly contact the council to pursue a claim against them directly. If you can establish that the pothole exceeds 25mm in depth and has been in situ for more than 1 year, you could be able to obtain damages from them.

  2. Jen

    I live in a converted house. My neighbour leaves their shoes and other belongings on the stairs to their flat. I used the stairway today to knock on my neighbours door and I tripped due to the shoes. I have sprained my ankle and I knocked my head. Can I make a claim?

    • Ian Morris

      There is the potential to make a claim, but as it is against an individual – who may not have insurance in place or the financial wherewithal to accommodate any claim – it is far from straightforward.

      Have you or anyone else ever previously complained to the neighbour about obstructions and hazards on the stairs?

  3. Nicola

    My teenage son tripped over a blown down sign that was meant to be propped up on the pavement. He has chipped his front tooth very badly. Who is responsible?

    • Ian Morris

      It will be very hard to prove negligence in this scenario and notwithstanding the damage caused to your Son’s tooth, it is unlikely that you could successfully pursue a claim in this matter, unless you can prove that the sign was not placed correctly in the first place and adequately secured.

      The defendants will likely argue that the recent stormy weather and strong gusty winds had caused the sign to fall – or that unknown vandals had removed any securing weights/straps and that there was nothing that they could have reasonably been expected to do to prevent such an incident happening.

  4. colin

    The precise location of the fall was: On the stairs between 11 and 12 Hampshire Court, **********, On the first flight down. On the 24th January 2020 at around 13.30.

    2. I went to flat 12 Hampshire court, to carry out a site inspection for the works we were carrying out within the property, As I’m a Operations manager for ********* (we carry out the repairs for ******* council, for the tenants and void properties etc).

    On the way back down the stairs I was walking as normal then my foot seemed to come to a stop, (This step came away totally) my body carried on forward, twisting my knee, back and hip. I grabbed the wall (Due to no handrail on this side) with my right hand resulting in hunting this also. Landing on the next platform around 6 stairs down. (Around every 6 stairs there’s a landing area/larger space). My knee started to swell straight away. I then hobbled across the small forecourt to the caretaker’s office.
    She then bound my wrist and filled out an accident form on a iPad. Herself and another member of staff went to take photos. The other caretaker mentioned that the kids undo the screws on the stairs all around the estate. (My assistant manager was also present at this time). Due to my knee swelling and was hot to touch I had to seek medical advice. Which you can see from my first letter I sent across.

    (Update on Friday 14th Feb 2020 I again went to see a consultant at Charing Cross Hospital, who has placed me on his waiting list for a ACL Reconstruction) Should be within 3 month from now.

    3. I consider your Insured/or subsidiary are responsible because of the following:
    a. It’s their responsibility (the councils) to keep all stairs and communal area’s in a safe manor to prevent accidents occurring.
    b. These stairs damaged have been reported to the Inspector of the estate. (Seems on a few occasions).
    c. 5 days prior to this accident we had a joint site inspection with an Inspector from Runnymede who covers this area, On the way down these stairs another manager from Lakers with me called the Inspector back to a step in question and pointed out screws coming out and lifted tread. He came back to the step pushed the screws down with his foot and stated this was in hand and he knew about it. (I have checked our records and works on out system, and these works have not come across to us to rectify) I say this as we are the repair company for Runnymede on contract for 5 years.
    d. A month before this accident these same stairs had also been reported to the caretaker. Via another manger who works for the council. After talking to other members of the public who use these stairs, they have also mentioned them. (I met a lady called NP another manager for ***). I was with another manager from Lakers looking at some garages for lock changes. She asked what has happened to my leg, when I explained she said that she had reported these stairs, the one’s where I had a fall over a month earlier, she is also a manager for this estate.
    e. They have had plenty of time and requests to fix these stair treads prior to anyone getting hurt, therefore this is neglect of *** With also ongoing issues I have found with refs to these stairs on the estate.
    f. STAIRS. Stairs should be clutter-free, in good condition, and have a banister or handrails on each side (these do not).
    g. Provide visual contrast on tread nosings, or at the leading edges of treads without nosings, so that stair treads are more visible (these are old)
    h. ***as pointed out in sections f and g above, I could go on and after looking into the building regs these stairs and nosings that are coming loose, we have found on more than one step seem to be a hazard*** I will be pointing this out to the HSC.

    4. Theses stairs could have been fixed prior to the accident occurring, they seemed to have a few complaints about these stairs which I have already mentioned, I also have witnesses to this. (Also, there was a statement made that the children on the estate undo screws). These would need addressing and changing to screws that could not be undone. (maybe a hex headed screw, no return screws. (would be my thought to prevent further injury to the public and tenants on the estate).
    a. The following week with my director plus another visited 12 Hampshire, on way down the stairs the top stair tread was also coming away/broken. Which my director reported this straight away before another accident happened. Due to screws being screwed into tiles the tiles seem to be cracking therefore after a while the screws will come loose. Chris has stated this in emails to ******.
    After looking at the other stairs, there seems to be this problem on the whole site, have photo’s etc

    5. The following injuries were received, due to the stairs being unsafe.
    a. Right Wrist Sprained and a slight cut.
    b. Right Patellar tear/sprained
    c. Pain in lower back and right hip
    d. Right knee ACL broken
    e. Slight marks on my head after hitting the wall
    Having to wear a Knee brace and support due to my knee being unstable, awaiting a ACL Reconstruction around 3 months from now. Taking pain relief and using ice packs to keep the swelling down.

    (Recovery from an ACL surgery can take anywhere from two to six months. However, it can nine months or more before you return to your pre-injury condition with a full range of motion and stability in the knee joint).

    Which will mean my family and I would not be able to go skiing next year, I use to ski for the British Army and was planning to take my family again next year. I also play golf which can not do at the moment.

    My wrist now seems to be ok, Still and a small amount of back and hip pain but been told this should go back to normal.

    Please also note that I suffer from CRPS and have had Miller Fisher Syndrome from 2011, since this accident my CRPS down my right side has flared up. I’m taking extra Morphine and other pain relief to get this under control. If this causes my syndrome to come back this would put me back I hospital for months like back in 2011 when it first started.
    (This is why I want to get fixed asap before / or this could cause a relapse with Miller fisher syndrome) Which would then have a massive impact on my life.

    Do i have a full claim?

    • Ian Morris

      Our initial view is that you do have a valid claim and that this is a matter that should be presented in full to our specialist Solicitors as it is most likely that they would wish to pursue your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. If successful, they would seek to recover compensation for the pain and discomfort caused by your injury – including the impact on both your professional and personal life/hobbies/activities etc and also recover any loss of income or other relevant out of pocket expenses.

      Given our view is positive, we have logged your online comment on our system under reference: 15042002 and invite you to contact us on 01225430285 or via email to: (quoting our reference) so that we can further discuss how we can help you and explain the No Win No Fee service that we offer. We would then seek to submit a detailed claim enquiry to our specialist Solicitors in order that they could consider the matter further with a view to pursuit of a claim on your behalf.

  5. Laura

    Hi, I tripped over a parking pole that was on the councils road but was apparently put there by a resident, who admitted putting there but has took it up, the council say he didn’t have permission. But the thing is there are more poles down my road that are the same and the council know about them but haven’t took them down. I seriously hurt my knees and still have problems in one. The council said it’s not their fault so wont give me compensation. I have photos and the response from the council’s insurers doesn’t add up. Please can you help as I feel the council have a duty of care. There is a parking problem down my street so people can’t walk on the pavement. That’s why I had to walk in the road.

    • Ian Morris

      Please email your photographs, council response and a detailed explanation of the accident and injuries (including date and time) to our team via: so that we can consider this matter further and assist you with advice regarding a potential claim for compensation.

  6. Graham

    I work in a sawmill and tripped while trying to step over the end of an adjustable length wooden trolley which is used for stacking variable lengths of sawn timber.
    My right shoulder hit the concrete floor and I was immediately in pain and unable to move my right arm. I have been off work now for almost 6 weeks. My doctor wrote a not saying that I could resume work on light duties but my employer says they have no light duties available. I’m on SSP and don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills.
    Can I at least claim my pay for the time that I have been off?

    • Ian Morris

      We feel that there is potential for a claim against the employers insurance to cover both the injuries (the pain and discomfort caused) and recover loss of income. Our specialist Solicitors will need to consider this matter in detail to confirm whether or not a claim can proceed.

  7. Lucy

    Hi there,

    I’ve just fallen in a deep hole in the foothpath round the corner from my house, it was dark I couldn’t see it, there were no signs! I’ve twisted my ankle and smashed my knee in the ground, my back is also aching. I was carrying my child and luckily saved him from hitting the ground too. Little bit shaken up. Not impressed at the state of the path and the fact the council have just left it.
    I don’t have any phone credit until Friday and I was wondering if you could contact me via email or call me if I email you, if you think I have a claim for compensation? Thanks so much.

    • Ian Morris

      Our initial view is that the cause of your injuries could well enable you to pursue a claim against the local authority or landowner, for the injuries you have sustained.

      In order for us to be able to evaluate whether or not you can pursue a claim for compensation, we’ll need to see some photographs of the hole in the path where you fell. If you, or a family member/friend could visit the accident site and take some photographs – a few close up images of the hole (ideally with a measurement visible showing the depth) and a couple from further back showing the hole with the street visible (to prove location) and email them to us, we can then confirm whether or not the hole is sufficient to enable a claim.

      Please email your photographs and contact number to us at and we’ll call you when we have received the photographs to discuss helping you make your claim for tripping accident compensation.

  8. Phillippa Dale

    My son slid over mud in my local hospital’s car park going to the car and broke his ankle in 2 places. He had to spend the night in hospital and they’re talking about him needing surgery. Can I make a claim as he’s only missing college at the moment?

    • Ian Morris

      Before we could say with any certainty as to whether or not he could make a claim, we would need to see some photographs of the cause of his injury – the mud on the car park surface. Can you provide any to us?

  9. Jennifer

    My neighbour blocks the public footpath Completely by parking across it daily .
    My disabled mother uses a wheelchair and struggles to access my driveway safely .
    If she fell or was hit by a vehicle as a result of having to go onto the road would she be able to make a claim against my neighbour or would it be the local authority she would claim against ?

    • Ian Morris

      The negligent party at this stage would be the neighbour. It is vital that the neighbour is made aware in writing of the problem they are causing and the risk it presents to your disabled Mother and we would strongly recommend reporting the situation to the local authority and taking photographs of the vehicle blocking the pathway.

      Once the neighbour is ‘on notice’ of the issue, if they were to continue to cause this problem and an accident were to then happen, they would face the prospect of being liable for any injuries or losses.

      • Jennifer

        Thank you for your reply Ian
        The local authority are already involved and the neighbour has been advised by the local authority and the police on numerous occasions of their obstruction but still refuse to keep the path clear .
        The local authority are to issue a community protection notice to try and resolve this issue . I just wondered if any claim due to an accident would be directed towards the neighbour themselves or the local authority for failing to ensure the path is clear ?

        • Ian Morris

          In this case, it would seem that the neighbour is the negligent party as the local authority have been attempting to resolve the situation and are taking further action – therefore it is likely that they would be seen to have fulfilled their obligations.

  10. Tracy

    Hi, I tripped at Euston Station, someone tripped me up by accident, they walked into me. As a result I have two broken bones in my shoulder and will be incapicated for around 6-12 weeks. British transport first aiders came to the scene, recorded in the accident book etc and I was taken to uc hospital near euston for treatment. The person who tripped me up didn’t hang around, she briefly stopped, but have no details, so I’m assuming I have no one to claim against is this correct?

    • Ian Morris

      You are correct. Unfortunately, despite the trauma caused to you and the injuries sustained there is simply no person against which to pursue a claim.

  11. Naomi

    Hi, i had a injury at the end of may 2019 in a local park. It was a hole in a park which i have a photo of and can confirm it is more than a inch deep. I was throwing my ball for my dog into water nearby and fell backwards into the hole causing my knee to go one way and foot to go another way. I was at work at the time and immediately called my boss as i could not walk, i work with my partner for a homecare company so she assisted me to the car. I did go to the doctors after following nhs advice online to self medicate and rest and my knee failed to get better so i went to hospital which i had relevant examinations. There was no breaks or tears but i am left with crippling spasms and cramps in knee and upper leg. I am still on medication and attending regular physio. I am still in alot of pain and have been off work 2 months? Do i have a case?

    • Ian Morris

      Whether or not you can pursue a claim will depend on the location and type of the defect that caused you to fall. If you fell in a hole on a grassed/unpaved surface the reality is that you will not be able to pursue a claim. However, if the hole that caused you to fall was on a tarmacadam or hard paved surface there is every possibility of making a claim.

      If you have photographs of the hole that caused you to fall, please email them to us at so that we can further review this enquiry for you and give you a view as to whether or not you can make a claim.

  12. Maria D. Posada Estevez

    On Monday the 22nd of April when I was walking on my way to the railway station, I tripped over in a drive way, my right foot got caught in the drive way a bit higher than the walk path and I fell on the ground concrete, I hurt my left side of my face, my mouth, I broke a tooth, I damaged the enamel and gum, I hurt my knees, hands, especially the left one which let me unable to hold properly for over a week and I damaged my glasses. After the fall I managed to walk back to the front of my flat (the accident happened in the street where I live) and I collapsed in the communal corridor, when I waked up, my neighbours were with me trying to help me, I vomited profusely and I was taken in an ambulance to a near hospital. I am better, but I am still having difficulties to chew food(I need to go back to the dentist)my teeth are not going to be the same and my left hand is still not fully functional. I wonder if the walk path and drive way are standard?

    • Ian Morris

      Do you have photographs of the cause of your accident? If you could provide us with photographs showing the driveway and footpath, we could advise you as to whether or not there is any basis for taking a possible claim for personal injury compensation further. Please do email any such photographs to us at so that we can consider the details regarding your accident and then advise you further.

  13. John

    I fell on a footpath leaving my friends house a year ago. I injured my shoulder, back and leg. It was a public footpath with a sign that was broken. My girlfriend came down and took pictures. Do I have a case seeing as I have suffered a lot of shoulder problems after it?

    • Ian Morris

      With any claim for tripping accident compensation, we can only really advise when we have seen photographic evidence of the accident site and the cause of the fall. In your case, please email the photographs you have of the accident site to: along with your name and contact number. We will then call you to discuss your situation and offer advice.

  14. Linda Sheeran

    I tripped over over my feet on heavy carpet at work and broke my arm. Do I have a claim as it might have been my fault?

    • Ian Morris

      You can only make a claim if you can identify a hazard or act of negligence that caused you to trip and fall. If you simply tripped over your own feet, nobody else is liable and you cannot claim compensation. If you tripped due to a tear in the carpet or an upturned edge of carpet creating a tripping hazard, you could seek to make a claim.

  15. Gerard

    I fractured my foot and tore my ligaments falling off a kerb as I was delivering a bed for work.. just had operation to shave the bone on ankle aswell… Can I claim?

    • Ian Morris

      At this stage, it is hard to advise on whether or not you can realistically make a claim for compensation. However, you have clearly suffered a very serious injury and as such, it is sensible to investigate this further. To that end, it would be a wise move to speak further with us so that we can find out more about your work, what training the employer provides, what caused the fall from the kerb and whether there were any defects that caused the injury.

  16. Jeanette

    I have been told that because someone hasn’t tripped and fallen there before I don’t have a claim.

    • Ian Morris

      In claims for tripping accident compensation, there are various criteria that a claimant must meet in order to succeed with a claim.

      To succeed with a tripping accident compensation claim, a claimant must be able to prove that the landowner (usually a local authority) failed to adequately maintain and repair the defect or hazard that has caused the tripping accident. Local authorities rely on two sources to identify any dangerous hazards or areas of disrepair in order to maintain their land. Firstly, they will rely on reports from members of the public to identify any areas in need of inspection and repair. Secondly, they also carry out routine inspections of their highways and footpaths at regular intervals (usually bi-annually).

      In your case, if nobody has reported the hazard to the local authority, they may argue that they were not aware of the need to repair the area or of the risk it presented to members of the public. As such, you will then need to demonstrate that the hazard was in situ for at least 6 months prior to your fall. To do this, you can speak to people that live or work in the area where the hazard is situated, to see if anyone had noticed it or reported it for repair. If you can obtain any person willing to support this view, this evidence could be used to prove that the local authority had failed to carry out their statutory duty and inspect the area in question.

  17. madelaine ryan

    I tripped over a parking ramp to stop cars from going any further and a steel bar was also in the path that I fell into and broke my sternum. It was reported and I did go for x-rays.

    • Ian Morris

      You would be able to pursue a claim for compensation if the cause of your fall can be attributed to a defect, hazard or disrepaired surface. As you tripped over a parking ramp that forms part of the road structure, you would only succeed with a claim if the item can be shown to be disrepaired or dangerous.

  18. Mark Gray

    I fractured my foot and required surgery with 2 screws having to be placed inside my ankle permanantly after falling in a pot hole on a private drive. This drive is deemed as a public right of way as cars drive up it to access shops. People also walk up it. It is very badly maintained and repeatedly repaired. After taking legal advice I was turned down as the defendants insurers say that they are not liable as by a 1800’s law they do not have to repair these holes and therefore not liable to compensate me. What can I do about this?

    • Ian Morris

      Dear Mark, I would suggest that you contact me by email with your phone number. I can then call you and take some details and get a specialist solicitor to discuss this matter with you.

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