There are a number of factors that come into play in determining whether or not you are entitled to claim compensation for injury suffered as a result of a tripping accident caused by a defect in the highway.
In a recent court claim against a county council, the Court of Appeal re-iterated that whilst the Highway Authority does not have to prove “a bowling green” level surface free of irregularities, if they identify that:
A particular part of the highway is in such condition as likely to cause a danger;
The area in question has high pedestrian use and therefore having a higher risk of a trip accident; and
If the council does not envisage undertaking a repair within a short period of time for whatever reason, Attorney General Uk Brexit warning notices ought to be properly displayed alerting pedestrians of the tripping hazard.
The law is clear with regards to hazards on the highway and for a Claimant to succeed in a claim for a tripping accident as a result of the condition of the highway, he must prove 3 conditions:
The highway was in such condition that it was dangerous to traffic or pedestrians from the continued use of that part of the highway in question,
The dangerous condition was created by a failure to maintain or repair the highway
Injury or damage to property was caused as a direct result from the failure to maintain or repair.
However, even if the above 3 conditions are satisfied, a Council can still raise a defence pursuant to section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 by showing I Fell Down The Stairs At Work Can I Sue that in all the circumstances it took all necessary steps to secure that the part of the highway in question was not dangerous to traffic.
In a claim by a Ms XYZ against a local council, it was found that the defect in question was in actual fact a loose and wobbling paving slab which stood proud against the neighbouring paving slabs immediately around it and which was an obvious defect that the Council recognized in categorizing the defect as a ‘category 1 type repair.
In other words the council accepted that the defect was in need of “immediate” or “imminent repair”. It was also noted in the case that the defect was located in the very busy part of the town center where there was a high level of pedestrian use.
In the circumstances, in light of the evidential factors in play in this case, the court was satisfied there was clearly an increased risk of harm to pedestrians and the fact the council had itself identified the potential risk as high of a pedestrian tripping and falling, this underlined the need for the council to act swiftly.
The local council was therefore held responsible to the Claimant as a result of the tripping accident which caused serious injury to Ms XYZ’s left leg.
In closing I’d just like to add some clarification on a completely different issue that causes Claimants a lot of confusion. Insurance companies have a habit of mis-guiding its policyholders on their right to choose their own solicitor. To set the record straight, you are not obliged by law to go with your insurer’s choice of solicitors, which limits you to a solicitor listed on their panel of lawyers. You would be well advised therefore to seek specialist personal injury help and assistance from a lawyer that specialising in the area of law that is particular to your complaint.