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I have tripped and injured myself on the pavement – have I got a claim against the council?

If you have tripped over an uneven pavement slab and injured yourself, the local council may be liable and therefore, required to give you compensation for your injury. If you are injured by a trip on a public pavement and are unsure whether you have a claim, contact us at Accident Advice Helpline; we will be able to advise you. In order for you to have the best possible chance of making a successful claim against the council, the following criteria must apply:

  • You must have been injured by your trip or fall. The council will not make a payment on the grounds that you could have been injured. In addition, in order for you to have a good chance of receiving compensation your injury needs to be a little worse than simply a few bruises or a small cut.
  • You must go to a doctor or to your local hospital as soon as possible after the incident, in order to obtain a medical record of the injuries you have received. This has to be done at an official medical centre or hospital. Having a relative who happens to be either a nurse or doctor assess you and produce a record of what has happened and the injuries you have sustained is not acceptable.
  • The defective part of the paving must be at least an inch above or below the rest of the pavement in order for it to be taken seriously as a defect. In cases where serious injury has occurred there may be a chance of successfully claiming compensation, but it is generally considered unreasonable to expect a pavement to be perfectly flat. It is impractical to expect a council to maintain all the pavements within its area in a perfectly smooth condition.
  • The time limit must not have expired; any claim must be made within three years of the occurrence. If you were below the age of 18 when the trip and associated injury occurred the three year time limit begins on the day you turn 18.

Collect evidence where you were tripped and injured

If you do trip over as the result of an uneven pavement or other reason for which you think the council is responsible, collect as much evidence as possible to support your compensation claim. Photographs of the offending piece of pavement are important to show the cause of the trip, and if you can collect the names and addresses of anyone who witnessed the incident this will also help your case as your solicitor can request statements from them. You may also want to write to your local council alerting them to the dangerous portion of pavement and informing them of your injury. If you do, be sure to keep a copy for future reference, it will be much easier for us to assess your claim with supporting evidence.

If you have a trip caused by an unsafe section of pavement and the above criteria are met there is still no guarantee that your claim will be successful. The council has to have a system in place that involves making regular checks on pavements. If they do, it may be defence enough for a judge to rule that they do not have to pay any compensation. contact us at Accident Advice Helpline for advice on making a successful claim for compensation