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

16 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.

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

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Questions & Answers

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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