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Top Tips for Pavement Trips

Posted on 28th October 2015

It is likely that we have all tripped over when walking along a pavement. Fortunately, most of these accidents result in minor bruises or injuries. However, tripping on a pavement can result in more serious injuries including broken bones, deep lacerations, sprains, concussion and other more serious physical injuries.

There are a number of possible causes of a pavement trip fall:

  • Raised or incorrectly raised paving slabs
  • Potholes
  • Exposed tree roots
  • Broken tarmac
  • Damaged or cracked paving slabs
  • Uneven kerb stones

Although councils/local authorities do monitor pavements and regularly repair defects, some defects go unnoticed and these can cause significant injury. I have noticed these types of claims are on the rise, especially as we approach the winter months when the bad weather can affect paving stones and tarmac structure.

What do I have to show to bring a successful claim?

In order to bring a successful claim against the owner of the pavement, we have to prove two things:

1. The ‘trip’ has to measure more than ¾ of an inch above the normal pavement level.

If the defect measures over ¾ of an inch then we would argue that it is a sufficient danger to warrant repair. The best way of showing this is to take some photographs of the defect you have tripped on and the surrounding area. Put a tape measure, ruler, or a coin next to the defect and take photographs of the size of the trip and keep them safe. They may be crucial evidence to show that the defect is dangerous

2. The council/local authority does not have a reasonable system of inspection and maintenance in place.

We prove this by requesting the inspection records for that particular pavement over the last 12 months from the council/ local authority. If their records show they do not have an adequate system of inspection in place and therefore have failed to maintain the highway properly then it is likely we will be able to bring a successful claim against them.

Top 5 things to do immediately after a Pavement Trip

If we can successfully show the defect is dangerous and the council/local authority does not have a reasonable system of inspection in place then it is likely you will be able to make a claim for compensation so long as you have been injured as a result of the trip/fall. To help your case, you should do the following as soon as possible;

1. Take photographs of the trip and of your injuries
2. Report the accident to the council / local authority
3. Keep a note of the name of the person who you speak to at the council/local authority
4. Make a note of your accident in an accident book if possible
5. Record names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.

A recent example of a successful pavement trip claim can be found at here.