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, knee, hip 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.
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.
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.
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.