It’s quite likely that at some point in our lives we have been that unfortunate person to slip or trip and fall on the pavement in the UK. Fortunately, most of these accidents result in minor bruises or injuries.
Occasionally however, a pavement accident could result in more serious injuries such as sprains, deep lacerations, broken bones, concussion or worse.
Some unfortunate victims are left with permanent pain or scars from their injury and others may require corrective surgery brought on by severe injuries. If while walking on a pavement, you slip and sustain a serious injury, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation.
Entitlement Criteria For Filing A Pavement Accident Compensation Claim
Defects on pavements are unfortunately all too common. Although councils do monitor pavements and regularly repair such defects, pot holes, uneven surfaces and raised paving slabs often go unnoticed and these can cause significant injuries.
To file a successful pavement accident claim, there are certain criteria that must be met:
The defect in the pavement must be at least 1” in height or depth –
When filing a claim for compensation against the council for a pavement accident, the defect that caused the fall must be at least 1” high or 1” deep. If you tripped on a raised paving slab, the raised area must at least 1” above the normal pavement level. If you tripped because of a pothole on the pavement, the pot hole should be at least 1” deep.
Although a defect that is less than 1” can also cause trips and falls that result in severe injuries, you stand a lower chance of being successful with your pavement trip compensation claim. If the defect in the pavement is less than an inch, most personal injury lawyers will dissuade you from filing a claim for compensation as it would probably be found that the defect was not of sufficient danger to warrant urgent repair.
The pavement accident must have caused an injury –
To make a personal injury claim for a trip on a council pavement, you must have suffered a personal injury. If you have not been injured, you aren’t going to be entitled to make a pavement trip compensation claim. There are no provisions within the law for claiming for a ‘near miss’ or for what ‘could have happened’.
Any personal injury lawyer you go to, will first assess the extent of your injuries before deciding whether or not they are able to take your case on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. If your injuries are completely healed within a week or two after the accident, it is unlikely to be taken on by any lawyer on a no win no fee basis.
What You Need To Do Immediately After A Pavement Accident
The main thing to focus on when making a pavement accident claim is liability. To file any successful personal injury compensation claim, you need to prove that another person or external factor was responsible for your personal injury. In this case, that would be the local authority, council or the person or company responsible for maintaining the pavement.
Record as much evidence of the pavement trip as possible –
As with any compensation claim, it is a good idea to record as much evidence as possible. Getting photographs of the pavement immediately after the accident will act as a strong leverage to your compensation claim.
When you get photographs of the pavement, it is a good idea to place some object such as a ruler, matchbox or a coin into the hole or against the raised portion in such a way that it gives an indication of the depth or height of the defect. Take several photographs of the pavement from different angles to make sure the extent of the defect is clearly visible.
Get the contact details of witnesses who saw you trip and fall –
Most witnesses will gladly give their contact details and corroborate the details of the accident in court.
Write a letter to your local council to report your accident –
Reporting the accident and the defect to the council or local authority will help create a record of the incident and acts as proof that the responsible authority is aware of the incident and cannot feign ignorance.
Seek professional medical attention for your injuries –
Getting professional medical attention immediately after the pavement accident ensures that your injuries are recorded in your medical records as evidence that you suffered an injury as a result of the accident. Getting a relative or a neighbour to tend to your injuries is not good enough, even if your relative or neighbour happens to be a nurse.
File the claim within the time limit –
The statute of limitations for filing personal injury compensation claims is 3 years. You must make sure that your claim is filed within 3 years after the pavement accident. If you were below 18 years of age at the time of the pavement accident, the 2 year period commences on the day you turned 18. Once the 3 year limitation period has elapsed, you will not be able to file a pavement trip compensation claim irrespective of the circumstances surrounding the accident.