How do I know if I can claim after tripping on a broken pavement?


There are some common misconceptions out there as to what merits a valid claim for slip and trip personal injury compensation after a fall on a damaged path or pavement. Many people wrongly believe that any fall that leads to injuries being sustained (commonly ankle, foot, kneehip or ligament injuries) can then form the basis of a claim for compensation against the relevant local authority highways department. The truth however is very different, and to succeed with a claim there are certain criteria that must be met.

What the law says

To make a claim against a local authority or other land owner after a slip, trip or fall, the claimant must demonstrate that the defect (a raised edge, or hole, for example) which lead to their accident met specific size requirements. Also, anyone looking to succeed with a claim will need to prove that the defendant failed to adequately inspect and maintain the pavements and road within their responsibility, and therefore left a dangerous hazard in situ. The courts have previously stated that landowners and local authorities require ample time to inspect the footpaths and roads in their area and identify and then repair any hazards or faults to reduce the risk of injury to the public. A claimant will 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.

Clearly, it is very difficult to prove if a defect, such a pothole, has been repaired. 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.

Photographic evidence

To succeed with a claim for compensation for injuries sustained in a tripping accident, it is important to clear provide photographic evidence of the pothole or hazard that was the cause of the accident. This will help your solicitor to prove that an alleged 3rd party are liable, that an ‘actionable defect’ was in situ and should have been repaired.

Claimants should ensure that they have taken or obtained photographs of a hazard that caused them to fall BEFORE it is repaired. With most people now having a camera built in to their mobile phones, obtaining evidential photographs is easy and should always be done. To take a good photograph, the height of the defect should be shown against a clear measurement. Most people don’t carry a ruler or measure with them, but a 50p or other coin against the vertical edge of a pothole or raised paving stone makes for a good alternative as it provides something to indicate the size of the hole or raised edge at the centre of the claim.

Raised paving flagstone protruding by in excess of 25mm

Paving stone, raised by more than 1 inch

The hazard shown in the above example is on the acceptable edge of being deemed ‘actionable’ (a hazard likely to succeed in a claim for compensation) although it is borderline. The photographs show clear measurements with the defect just exceeding 25mm/1″ from the surrounding surface level. The location of the defect (in terms of background landmarks) and enabling the direction of travel to be seen further strengthens a claim for tripping accident compensation.

Close up of hazard with clear depth measurement

Proof of hazard position and direction of travel


How Direct2Compensation can help

Instructing the services of a specialist claims expert is always a good idea to give your claim the best possible chances of success. It won’t surprise you to learn that people who attempt to pursue a claim without legal representation often have a less satisfactory outcome, and may even fail with a claim that a specialist solicitor would succeed with.

At Direct2Compensation we know your rights and how to ensure that any claim for tripping accident compensation is presented in the best possible light. We know how to identify whether a hazard presents a valid claim, and how to ensure that the right evidence is in place to give you the best prospects of succeeding.

If you believe that you have a claim for compensation after a trip or slip or want to ask about whether or not your injuries will entitle you to claim, simply contact us and we’ll happily help.

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

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  1. Hi have had a trip last night, it it was on a public footpath. I have suffered some facial injuries and also hurt my knee. I am concerned someone might get hurt like I have. Please can you get back to me? thank you

    • What caused you to trip on the footpath? If you were tripped by a damaged or disrepair pavement surface you may have a right to make a claim for compensation against the relevant land owner – in most cases, tripping accident claims will be made against a local authorities highways department.

      For us to be able to advise as to whether or not you have a valid claim for tripping accident compensation, we need to know more about the cause of your fall (a description of the hazard on the footpath) and view some photographs of it. Therefore, please email me directly with some photographs of the accident site to: I can then view the same and make an initial assessment as to whether or not you have a valid claim for tripping accident compensation.

  2. On behalf of my sister. She trip on an ill fitting paving slab and sustained cuts to her elbow, knees (no pictures) and her wrist which was assessed in A&E. No break. But swelling and bruising. Wrist support provided due to pain and swelling as well as lack of movement. Is she able to make a claim?

    • We would need to see photographs of the paving slab that caused the accident and also know the height of the tripping hazard created by the edge of the paving slab.

      If you could forward the same to me by email ( I will be able to review this further and advise you as to whether or not a claim can follow.

  3. My wife had a trip and fall accident that resulted in a broken hurmerous. This happened on a boardwalk on a beach belonging to the local authority. I have sought legal advice but was told that it was a local authority, so the chances of winning were slim.

    • Just because a proposed defendant is a local authority, it does not reduce the prospects of succeeding with a claim for personal injury compensation. Regardless of the proposed defendant, the key requirement to succeed with a claim for tripping accident compensation is to be able to prove that a dangerous tripping hazard has been allowed to remain present and that a risk to health that should have been removed has gone on to cause injury.

      In the case of your wife’s fall, we would very much like to view the photographic evidence of the nature of the hazard/defect that caused her to trip. From this, we would be able to offer a view as to whether or not we could pursue a claim for your wife further.

      Should you wish us to consider this further for you, please email the photographs to us at:

  4. Hi I had a bad fall outside my flat.There was an inspection hatch with a large hole in it and metal wires sticking out of it on the pavement I tripped over it breaking my hand I was admitted to the hospital for an operation and had a kwire fitted into my hand to join my bones back together the problem is I was so embarrassed about how it happened I told the hospital I done it by dropping a plate rack on to my hand when I came out of the hospital I seen a council worker outside looking at it I told him what happened to me the following day they came cordend it of and put bollards around a couple of days later they came out took the inspection hatch up and put a new one down. I have lots of photos of my injuries and of me being in hospital but I never managed to get photos of the damaged inspection hatch this happened to me one year ago I now wish I done something about it then do you think I have a case for compensation my brother said I shouldn’t have been embarrassed about the fall and told the hospital how it really happened.

    • Unfortunately, your failure to report to the Hospital the real cause of your injuries and the lack of photographic evidence of the broken access cover will make your prospects of succeeding with a claim low and this would make it very hard to be able to run your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

  5. After a really bad fall on raised electric cover on the pavement have been told I’ve no case because the council had no knowledge of the defect before my accident that they can’t be found negligent would this be true solicitor is closing my file

    • When there is any tripping accident claim, a defendant will only be held liable if it can be shown that the hazard or defect that caused the accident has been present for a period of time that was sufficient for a defendant to be aware of it and have the site repaired or cordoned off.

      In cases such as yours, the local highways department of the local authority will inspect their footpaths and roads bi-annually to locate any defects or hazards that require replacement or repair. If they are able to provide an inspection report from the previous 6-12 months that show that the raised electric cover was not in a dangerous condition when inspected, they would have a strong defence in this claim.

  6. Hi Ian, I was walking and tripped over but as I fell, I fell onto a load of glass which was smashed on the floor outside a pub. Obviously a pint glass. I nearly fainted. I went in to the pub with my hand squirting out blood and asked the barmaid what do I do and she panicked and just wrapped it up and said go hospital. I then was referred to a hand specialist (East Grinsted) and have had to surgery on my hand. My middle finger has now got permanent damage to the tendons. I had 36 stitches and got a massive scar, sometimes my hand still gets pain. This was around 6 months ago, does that sound like a potential claim? because never really thought about till now.

    Take Care

    • What caused you to trip? The severity of your injury relates to the glass upon which you fell rather than the tripping accident. The difficulties you will have with a claim will relate to the glass itself and proving that it had been there for a while along with proving you were injured outside that pub.

      Evidence is very important when it comes to succeeding with a claim for compensation and if you do not have an accident book record or independent witness evidence to confirm you were injured outside the pub in the way you describe, it is likely that you would struggle to succeed with a claim. Also, the glass on the floor may have only been present for a few minutes. As such, the courts would probably view it that the pub hadn’t had reasonable time to sweep it up.

  7. Hi my wife tripped on a pavement opposite our house it’s only a small area but the kerb is dropped the edging stones are uneven the tarmac is breaking up she has broken her metatarsal on her left foot this was in the middle of the day we have cctv that shows her falling and I have some photos of area where it happened.

    • Please can you email the photographs of the accident site to me at so that I can review them and give you a more qualified opinion as to the prospects of a claim?

      If there is a particular raised or sunken edge that caused the trip and fall, please attempt to measure it and include a photograph showing the depth/height.

  8. I slipped in a car park, (which is under railway arches), in late March and after attending A&E I had suffered a broken shoulder. I don’t know exactly what happened but after some reflection, I do know there was a mix of water and oil on the floor, not a lot by any means, but there is also a water channel in the surface to and I think this is where I lost my footing as it did have fluid in it so was a little disguised (I hadn’t used the car park that much so wasn’t over familiar with it). The water channel is obvious during the dryer months but I clearly didn’t see it when I lost my footing and there were no warning signs around suggesting precautions should be taken. Although I am now signed off from the doctor and physio, I do have a lingering ache whenever I have to carry anything.

    • Do you have any photographic evidence of the car park in the state it was at the time of your accident and did you make a report to the car park owners/management company regarding your accident?

      • I’m afraid not, I couldn’t have taken a picture as my shoulder was broken and I was in pain and embarrassed as i had fallen flat out. One of the attendants helped me up and I got on my way, i didn’t tell the car park owners.

        • It is understandable that you were unable to take photographs (or even think clearly) given the pain from such an injury. Of course, the lack of a report to the car park owners would now make the prospects of succeeding with a claim less than if you had reported it.

  9. Hi I tripped over in a church yard on the way to work and broke my wrist. I had a plate put into my wrist and was off work for 9 weeks. I’m a self employed hairdresser. I have measured the bit I tripped on and it isn’t an inch in height, although I did trip over it and it’s caused me pain discomfort to my wrist along with money troubles. Do I have a case?

    • The general rule of thumb is that a tripping hazard must protrude or sink by 25mm or more (1″ in height/depth) to warrant a successful claim. However, there can be exceptions to that rule.

      I would suggest that the best course of action would be for you to email your photographs to us at: along with a brief description of your accident. We can then take a view and give you an opinion as to whether or not you can pursue a claim for tripping accident compensation.

  10. Hi , I was out walking my dog then next moment I had gone over on my ankle , the path was uneven do to path not being finished off properly . Ive broken my ankle it’s been three weeks since accident happened.

    • Given your description of the faulty and hazardous path that caused you to damage your ankle we believe that your claim should be further processed as there could well be a successful outcome in this for you. I’ll refer you to our ankle injury compensation page if you’d like further information, including potential compensation amounts.

      We’ll call you to discuss this accident and find out more from you.

  11. Hi
    I was working in a retail store. Store lift was not working so I have been asked by the shift supervisor to pickup the milk from outside. while picking up the milk all bottles pull up to my leg and my leg were broken and i was off from the work for one month.

    I claimed compensation but their insurance company denied liability as the accident occured was not the employer’s premises. what to do

    • Yasmin

      Thank you for contacting us. I am a little confused by your story so I would suggest that you email us your contact number to so that we can call you and find out what happened, how you were injured and then let you know what, if anything we can do.

      It does sound like you may have a claim here, so we would like to speak with you.

  12. Hello my name is Luke. 2 nights ago I went shopping at my local Asda around 8pm. On my way home I was walking home down the hill carrying a bag of shopping and the next moment all I know is that I’ve suddenly gone flying forward and fallen to the ground. I hurt my self as I hit face first on the pavement. My shopping went flying across the pavement. I had badly hurt my hand, ripping the skin off due to the gravel on the surface of the floor. There was blood rushing out. I had put my hand out to try stop my face smashing in to the pavement surface and also damaged my leg, with some of the skin torn – again with bits of gravel and small stones in the wounds. Despite this, it was my wrist and hand that were hurting the most.

    I picked myself up off the floor feeling rather humiliated thinking people must have seen me fall as where I had fallen is right next to a park with swings and a slide where many kids hang out. I then looked to see what had caused me to trip and fall and for my ankle to bend out underneath me. It was then that I saw why and what caused it. The pavement had a section on the left where it had been repaired in the past, but that bit of pavement had subsequently dropped and was sunken leaving a nasty 1 inch deep lip Running at least 2 meters long with a crack about half a inch along this. Again, this was a defective foot path and past repairs seem to have caused this from the look of it.

    This fall resulted in me being hurt and I feel angry and wish to complain as its just lack of care of inspection that caused it. I feel lucky I didn’t break my ankle as it twisted side wards left side causing me to loose footing tripping me up face first.

    I have learning difficulties and I am not very sure what to do in regards to complaining about this. I did take photographs of my hand and leg but I didn’t go to the hospital or doctor as I felt embarrassed about the accident. I don’t think that I have any broken bones and I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. I would like to know what you think I should do about this. I will be going back up and taking pictures of the hazard that caused this.
    I would be grateful for some advice please. Regards Luke

    • Luke

      Thank you for commenting on our website. I am very sorry to hear about your accident and hope that you make a good recovery.

      Firstly, I would recommend that you do see your Doctor about the injury to your wrist and ankle. Whilst there may be nothing broken and perhaps not much your Doctor could do, it would be wise to get yourself checked out. Also, should you pursue any claim it would be very helpful if you had reported any injuries to your Doctor.

      We would be very happy to pursue a claim for you on a No Win No Fee basis. We would need your photographs of the hazard and contact details so that we could discuss things with you. Please email your contact details and photos to me via: and I’ll call you to help you get things moving.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

  13. the internet Cable company VM has not installed the cable in a correct manner, causing the cable to come up out of the junction box in the pavement the bend down to the pavement creating a loop approx 50mm high. I reported this every few weeks since October 2016 and it has not been repaired yet on the 6th March 2017. Have I done all I can to avoid being liable and prosecution.

    • If VM have left a hazard on your property, it is them who are responsible for any events that are caused by this hazard. You have done all that can reasonably be expected of you by reporting this to them every few weeks. You should retain evidence of your reporting of the hazard – sent emails should be ‘saved’ or printed and you should continue to report this to them – also take some photographs of the hazard that they have left on your premises.

    • Claudia

      Thanks for commenting on our website. As you will note, I have replied online but thought it would help to also email you directly and invite you to contact us to pursue this matter.

      Claiming compensation for injuries after slipping or falling on an uneven surface is something we have a great deal of expertise with. The success or otherwise of any claim you make will depend on the nature of the site where you fell. In terms of a claim for injury compensation for falling on an uneven surface, the accident site is known as the locus and we (or any other claims company or specialist solicitor) would need to carry out a locus inspection and make a report on the same. To understand more about locus reports you can read about how photographic evidence can support your claim here:

      I would suggest that it is a good idea for you to take a couple of photographs of the area where you fell so that you can email them to us. By viewing your photographs and speaking with you, we’ll be able to give you our opinion as to whether or not the uneven ground where you fell would give you a good chance of winning if you chose to pursue a claim for injury compensation.

      As with all claims, it is important that you report your accident and injuries to the land owners – this could be a private landowner, a business or a local authority. For more help with this read our article about how to report your accident to the right people here: Of course, you should also seek medical treatment for your injuries too.

      I hope that this response is of use to you and I hope that we are able to assist you. As stated earlier, please contact us via the link in my response and one of our team will contact you to help you pursue your claim.


      Ian Morris

    • Hi I was at work and walking across the yard it was full of hgv trailers I was walking between the trailers to get to my truck and I tripped up over some raised concrete and damaged my shoulder no Brocken bones but waiting for MRI scan I may have torn muscle very painful can I claim no photos were taken ?

      • Dear Patrick

        Thank you for letting us know about your situation and asking whether or not you can claim compensation after your accident at work. Given the injury you have sustained, it is definitely worth us investigating this matter for you with a view to pursuing a claim for compensation. Whilst you have been injured as a result of a tripping accident, this matter would run as an ‘accident at work’ claim – if it were to proceed.

        You mention that no photographic evidence to record the raised concrete has been obtained and whilst this would be helpful (if you are able to return to the yard and get a few photographs of the area it would be a good idea), the most important thing is that the details of your accident are recorded properly within the employers accident book/accident reporting system. You should make sure that this has been done and that the record shows that your fall was caused by a hazard (raised/broken concrete) within the employers yard that lead to you tripping over.

        We’d like to speak with you to discuss this in greater detail and explain the claims process and would then be able to get you to speak with one of our specialist injury compensation solicitors.

        We look forward to hearing from you.

        Yours sincerely

        Ian Morris

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