What Should I Do If I Injure Myself After A Slip Or Trip On The Pavement?
Slips and trips while out and about are one of the most common types of personal injury claims, that we at Hodge Jones and Allen handle. They are also the most difficult to succeed in which is why if you have been unfortunate enough to have slipped or tripped in the street you should contact one of our team specialist personal injury lawyers who have years of experience of successfully winning these types of cases.
Slips and trips can result in a whole range of injuries; from sprains to knees, backs and ankles, to those at the more serious end of the scale including fractured limbs, head injury, concussion, deep lacerations and permanent scarring.
In determining who is responsible for your slip or trip a local council will usually be your first port of call. The council have a duty to inspect and maintain footpaths and roads falling within their local authority.
If you can show that the local council was at fault then your claim for compensation will succeeded. There are two hurdles to be navigated successfully and by using a specialist personal injury solicitor this will increase your chances of success.
The ‘first hurdle’ – the defect itself
There are several possible causes of a pavement slip or trip:
- Raised paving slabs;
- Exposed tree roots;
- Damaged or cracked paving slabs; and
- Uneven stones;
To overcome this hurdle successfully the defect has to measure more than 25mm or 1 inch above the normal pavement level. If this cannot be proved then the council will have a total defence to the claim.
In some circumstances, the council may stipulate that the defect must to be larger for any intervention by them to rectify it to be required.
Photos showing the height and measurements of the defect are essential to proving your case.
Place a tape measure, ruler or coin next to the area where you tripped and take photographs, then send them to your specialist personal injury solicitor.
In addition to good photographs showing the measurements (they should be clear and up close) a range of photographs of the surrounding area is essential. Local landmarks (shops, houses, street signs) to help identify where the defect is are very important. This will assist your specialist personal injury solicitor in correctly identifying where the defect is so that they can advise the local council of its exact location. The council will then be able to provide the correct and relevant inspection records.
Your personal injury solicitor will also use this information to contact witnesses who may be able to help determine how long the defect was present prior to the accident.
The photographs should be taken as soon as possible following your slip or trip accident. If it is not possible to take the photographs yourself, please ask a friend or family member to do so. Photographs taken a couple of months after your slip or trip accident may not be helpful to your case as the defect may have changed significantly over time.
The ‘second hurdle’ – inspection records
If the council can prove they carried out regular inspections, they may have a good defence to your case.
Depending on how busy the area where the slip or trip accident happened, the inspections should take place monthly (for high streets) or annually (for residential areas).
As your specialist personal injury solicitors we will insist that the council provide us with a copy of their inspection records for the area where the slip or trip accident happened for the previous 12 months.
Often the records indicate that the council did not have an adequate inspection system in place and in those circumstances your claim will be successful.
The council will avoid liability if their records show that they had an adequate system of inspection and during their last inspection (before your accident) the defect was either (1) not present or (2) did not pose a risk to pedestrians at the time.
In the case of Mills v Barnsley, the Judge held that those bringing slip and trip accident claims cannot expect ‘a bowling green’. This means the Council are not obligated to provide a defect free pavement as this would be too onerous.
However, they are required to regularly inspect and action defects over 25mm / 1 inch that pose a threat to road users.
Although slip and trip cases can be difficult to win it is essential that you are able to provide your solicitor with good photographic evidence at the beginning of your claim. Without sufficient photographic evidence, a case may not clear the first hurdle.
With our team of Specialist Personal Injury Solicitors you can be assured that you will receive the support and guidance you need during your compensation claim to ensure a win. Call us now on 0808 271 9413 or request a call back.