In the main, manhole and drain covers are usually fitted well and don’t cause any problems. However, if a manhole cover is missing, damaged or poorly fitted, it can become a trip hazard. If you trip on a manhole cover or fall down a manhole, you could be entitled to claim compensation if someone else is to blame. As such, our guide about manhole cover injury claims will show you the types of manhole-related accidents and injuries you could be compensated for.
We can check if you might be entitled to claim during a free initial consultation. A specialist will examine the nature of your accident and explain your options. As well as offering free legal advice, they could connect you with one of our personal injury solicitors. If your manhole cover claim is accepted, you’ll receive legal representation on a No Win, No Fee basis.
To learn more about manhole cover injury claims, read on or call our team on 0800 652 1345.
Who Is Responsible For Manhole Covers?
If you were injured following a manhole cover in a public place, your claim would probably be against a utility company such as the local water company. In these cases, the manhole cover (if it is still present) will have identifying markings.
In most cases, a drain or manhole cover on private property must be maintained by the property owner. For example, if you trip on a defective manhole cover in a shopping centre’s car park, you may be able to claim against the centre’s owner or operator.
Finally, if you are injured after tripping on a manhole cover at work, you would probably make a claim directly against your employer as they have a duty of care to make the workplace as safe as possible.
As part of our free consultation, we’ll help you to identify who was responsible so that your claim is directed at the right party.
Can I claim compensation for a manhole accident?
In order to receive compensation for injuries sustained in a manhole cover accident, generally you will have to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, that the defendant’s negligence caused the manhole accident, and that you suffered an injury from the incident.
To establish the extent of your injuries, you’ll need an independent medical assessment. This isn’t anything to worry about and your solicitor will usually be able to make a local appointment. A medical expert will examine your injuries and find out what impact they’ve had on your day-to-day life. After your meeting, your solicitor and the defendant will receive a report to explain your injuries and future prognosis. This will help your solicitor to calculate how much compensation you might be entitled to claim.
Later on, we’ll explain what other forms of proof could help show why you should be compensated for your injuries.
Can a claim be made against the local council?
Local councils are usually responsible for many of the public highways in their area. This means that they are duty-bound to carry out regular inspections of the highway and repair any damage in a timely manner.
As such, if the council is aware of a manhole defect on a path it’s responsible for and you are injured before it is repaired, you may have grounds to sue the council. However, things aren’t always as clear-cut as that because even though the council have identified the problem, another party might be responsible for the repair of the manhole cover.
In these situations, we would suggest that you seek free legal advice from our team. If your claim is taken on, your solicitor will try to establish who is liable for your injuries as quickly as possible to avoid any delays with the claims process.
Common injuries caused by defective or missing manhole covers
As set out above, you could claim for any injury sustained in a manhole cover accident that wasn’t your fault. Some of the most common injuries claimed for include:
- Cuts, lacerations and bruising.
- Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries.
- Fractured or broken bones.
- Spine injuries.
- Concussion and other head injuries.
- Psychological injuries (especially when falling down a manhole).
Even if your injury is not listed here, we could still help you to claim. Please feel free to get in touch and we’ll examine your chances of being compensated with you.
Types of negligence that can cause drain cover and manhole accidents
Some of the most common reasons manhole and drain cover injury claims are lodged include:
- Rusted manhole covers. Businesses, utility companies and homeowners have a duty to inspect manhole covers for damage. Failure to replace a rusty manhole cover could lead to somebody falling into the manhole when they put weight onto the cover.
- Raised manhole covers. Manhole covers should be flush with the path so that they are not trip hazards. You could claim compensation if you tripped on a manhole cover that was raised because of poor installation, subsidence or because it had not been closed properly after its last use.
- Open manholes. When utility companies need to work inside a manhole cover, they should cordon the area off with safety barriers. Failure to do so can lead to serious injuries if somebody falls into the void and could result in a personal injury claim.
- Collapsed drains. The void beneath a manhole cover should be inspected regularly to check for signs of damage. If a manhole cover is sat on top of a weakened or collapsed drain, it could result in a fall when stepped on.
If you’ve tripped on a defective manhole cover or fallen into an open manhole, please get in touch to find out if you might be entitled to compensation.
How much compensation will I get for a manhole accident?
The idea of personal injury compensation is to help you, as much as possible, recover from the situation that somebody else caused. As well as being compensated for your injuries, you may be entitled to claim back any expenses linked to your injuries.
As such, if you win a manhole cover accident claim, you might be compensated for:
- Any physical pain or discomfort.
- Psychological issues caused by your injuries such as depression.
- Loss of amenity to cover any negative impact on your usual activities.
- Prescription fees, physiotherapy costs and other medical expenses.
- Lost income.
- The cost of a carer (friend, family or a professional carer).
- Travel expenses.
- The cost of replacing personal items damaged in the manhole accident.
- Future reduced earnings if your ability to work is reduced for the long term.
- Changes to your house or vehicle to help you cope with any ongoing injuries.
To try and make sure any compensation you receive is fair, your solicitor will review your claim in detail with you before it is filed.
Providing proof for a manhole cover injury claim
When you contact a utility company or a business to claim for injuries caused by a manhole cover, they’ll usually refer you to their insurance provider. The insurer will probably deny liability from the start of the case so it’s up to you and your solicitor to provide proof of why you should be compensated.
The types of proof that can be helpful include:
- Photographs. Pictures of any damage to the manhole cover or a missing manhole cover will always be useful. To prove the location of the manhole cover, try to capture any identifying marks or nearby buildings in your pictures. Take photos of your injuries too.
- Accident reports. You should always contact the party responsible for the manhole cover to inform them about your accident. If you do this online or in writing, keep hold of any correspondence you send or receive.
- Medical information. If your injuries needed medical treatment at a GP surgery, minor injuries unit or a hospital, your medical records could be obtained to help prove your diagnosis.
- Witness details. If the insurer denies that the manhole accident occurred or that you were injured, your solicitor could use witness statements to try and prove your version of events.
- CCTV footage. Finally, if the manhole or drain cover was covered by any type of security camera, you could ask for a copy of any relevant footage. This would need to be done fairly soon after the accident occurred though.
To help make it easier to recall what happened, we would suggest that you write down as much information about your drain accident as possible. You could also keep a record of any expenses plus details of any dates when your injuries prevented you from working.
You don’t need to have collected all of the proof listed to begin your manhole cover accident claim. If your case is accepted, your solicitor will review any proof available and try to secure any more that is needed.
No Win, No Fee claims
If you want to seek damages after tripping on a defective or missing manhole or drain cover, we believe having a personal injury solicitor on your side will make the claims process easier. We know, though, that most people don’t want to risk losing money on solicitor’s fees so ours provide their services on a No Win, No Fee basis.
If your claim is accepted, you’ll receive a No Win, No Fee agreement to sign. It will show that you:
- Won’t pay upfront legal fees.
- Don’t have to pay any legal fees if the claim is lost.
- Will pay a success fee should you be awarded compensation for your injuries.
Success fees are a percentage of any compensation you’re awarded. The percentage you’ll pay will be detailed in your contract. Legally, this fee cannot exceed 25% of your settlement amount.
Any manhole cover compensation claim that’s taken on will be managed from start to finish by your solicitor. They’ll do everything on your behalf so you won’t be contacted directly by the defendant’s legal team. You will be kept up to date throughout the claims process and you’ll discuss any settlement offers with your solicitor before they are accepted.
To check if you can claim for manhole cover injuries on a No Win, No Fee basis, please call today.
Manhole and drain cover injury claim time limits
Personal injury law in the UK means that there is a 3-year time limit for most personal injury claims. When claiming for injuries caused by a manhole or drain cover accident, the limitation period will normally begin from the date of your accident. A couple of exceptions to this rule is when a child has been injured, or an individual without the mental capacity to deal with a claim themselves.
In the case of children, the time limit doesn’t start until the child’s 18th birthday. As a result, a litigation friend is free to claim on behalf of the child at any point.
In cases where the individual lacks the mental capacity to make a claim, a litigation friend could deal with the process on their behalf, or they will have 3 years from when their mental capacity returns.
Although 3 years may seem as though it’s a long time, you shouldn’t delay the start of your claim in our opinion. Starting your claim early may mean you could receive interim payments before your claim is settled. This may be possible while your claim is being investigated but the defendant has already accepted liability. Starting sooner rather than later will usually also mean it’s easier to secure proof to support your claim.
Start a manhole cover injury claim today
If you have been injured by a damaged or missing manhole cover, you can speak to our team on 0800 652 1345 to have your case assessed for free. There’s no obligation to proceed but we’ll explain your options and offer advice on your legal options.
If you decide to take action and one of our personal injury solicitors agrees to take on your case, you’ll benefit from a No Win, No Fee service. That means you’ll benefit from expert legal representation without paying any legal fees upfront.
Our live chat team is available now so please connect with us if there’s anything else you’d like to know about manhole cover injury claims.