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Watch Out For Misbehaving Paving And A Genuine Accident Claim

Cracked pavement
17th December 2013
Stubbing toes and tripping over pavements may often be thought of as part of the daily struggle to negotiate the urban landscape! It’s often viewed by the general public as a symptom of a certain kind of local council attitude – neglecting pedestrian safety while focusing on collecting motorist revenues from parking restrictions.

Nevertheless, the countless number of personal injury claims that accident compensation solicitors deal with on a weekly basis is a reminder that the outcome from a cracked or uneven paving slab is not always simply a scuffed shoe or a light graze.

Accident claims forms can tell a different story. One that speaks of more serious accidents, which have caused sprained ankles, deep skin wounds and severe head injuries. On several occasions, the stippled paving slabs that can appear at the pavement edge, and are intended to prevent a slip, may even increase the likelihood of causing a pedestrian’s foot to trip.

There can also be an issue over just how far a piece of broken pavement has to protrude in order to hold the local authority responsible for an accident, although it is generally accepted to be more than one inch.

It’s not surprising that local councils will dispute the numerous genuine claims from members of the public by implying that the claimant "failed to look ahead to where they were placing their feet" or that they “overcompensated” trying to prevent a loss of balance and as a result, actually lost their balance and fell over.

One often-used objection is that the fault in the pavement had not yet occurred and thus, “not detected” by the most recent of their “frequent and regular inspections”, just prior to the accident. Other reasons for contesting responsibility can include that a third party, such as a utilities or road maintenance company had caused the damage or simply that the accident occurred on privately-owned land.

Proving liability for these types of injury claims will rely on producing key evidence. It’s essential to immediately notify the local authorities and take any witness contact details. Photographs are vital and should show an accompanying ruler to prove the actual extent of protrusion / fault and a shot taken at a distance to provide evidence of scale.

Mind how you go...