Tripping accidents while walking on public footpaths commonly cause accident claims. Injury caused in these circumstances, often leads to the general assumption that the party responsible for the area is at fault and therefore liable to compensate the injured party. But this is only true to a limited extent – so winning these slip and trip claims can be more difficult than first thought ,as there is no automatic right to compensation.
It is the local council in any given area that has a responsibility to maintain the highway and any surrounding public footpaths. It is often not appreciated by claimants that negligence must be established against the local council before injury claims are made and subsequent compensation will be paid.
To succeed in any slip and trip accident claim, it is necessary initially to persuade a court that it was more than likely, that the highway was in such condition that it was a danger to its users and in the ordinary course of affairs, that danger may reasonably have been anticipated from its continued use.
The council’s apparent failure to maintain or repair the highway and the cause of the danger in the first place must be proven as well as that the injury resulted from that failure.
Most pavements are maintained to a certain standard, and prevent the public from foreseeable risk – although councils cannot reasonably be expected to ensure that all pavements are kept perfectly level and free from defects at all times. Councils have a complete defence to any slip and trip compensation claim where they can produce records to demonstrate a reasonable system of inspection was in place to identify such defects and repair them – even where a defect is present and has caused someone an injury.
Each case will be decided on its own specific facts and it is these that can be used to determine the degree to which a highway has been maintained to a reasonable standard. The frequency of inspection and work carried out is directly linked to the population of each specific area; with larger populations requiring higher levels of inspections and work. It was said by a judge in a recent compensation case that “members of the public should not expect to find paving stones loose” confirming that for crowded areas, such a main square in the centre of town, the local authority does have a high level of responsibility for ensuring pavements are safe.
It can be more difficult than you might think, to prove your case following an accident caused by a defective footpath or pavement – but this should not deter victims of these types of accident from considering a claim for personal injury compensation.
For specialist advice on how to claim compensation, call or e-mail our specialist team of personal injury lawyers today.