Public footpaths, pavements and roads
I’ve had a trip / slip / fall accident on a footpath / pavement / road – can I make a claim for compensation? Who do I claim compensation from? Who owes the duty of care to keep me safe on a footpath, pavement or road?
Tripping, slipping and falling accidents on footpaths, pavements and roads can easily happen and they can happen in a variety of ways. If you have had a trip, slip or fall accident you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. Leech & Co Solicitors can help you with your claim. Call us on 0161 749 9000 or click here for a call back [need call back button] to tell us what happened. Our initial advice is always free.
However, there is no automatic right to compensation for injuries suffered in these types of accidents. In order to claim compensation for your injuries and losses, you must prove three things:
- The person, company or council that is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the footpath, pavement or road owed you a duty of care to keep you safe while using the footpath, pavement or road;
- That person, company or council has breached (or broken) that duty of care;
- You have suffered injuries and losses as a result of the breach of duty.
Therefore, firstly, to make a successful claim, you must prove who owes you a duty of care on the pathway, pavement or road.
Public pathways, pavements and roads are the responsibility of the highway authority. This is usually the local county council. These bodies are responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and repair of all public highways. This means they have a duty of care to all users to keep them a reasonably safe condition.
N.B.1. A public highway includes public streets, roads, pavements, footpaths, walkways, cycle tracks, bridleways etc and it means every member of the public has a free right of passage on it.
N.B.2. Users of a public highway can include pedestrians, motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders etc.
Therefore, if you are the user of a public highway i.e. a footpath, pavement or road, the local council is likely to owe you a duty of care to keep you safe while you use it.
Secondly, to make a claim, you must prove that the local council has breached (or broken) that duty of care to keep you safe on the footpath, pavement or road. It will be necessary to prove the following:
- that the highway was not reasonably safe for the users i.e. that the size, nature and/or position of the defect or hazard made the highway dangerous;
- that the accident was caused by the dangerous condition of the highway.
Thirdly, if you have been able to prove that the local council owed you a duty of care and this duty has been breached, you will need to prove that this breach of duty has caused your injuries and losses. This will be done by obtaining medical and other evidence in support of the claim. Your personal injury solicitor will obtain this evidence for you. (Read more about the medical evidence you need to support your claim here: https://leech.co.uk/medical-report-claim/)
What are the potential problems with making a claim for compensation resulting from a trip, slip or fall on a footpath, pavement or road?
There are various potential pitfalls with making a claim against the local council for an accident on footpath, pavement or road, but the main ones are as follows:
- If you can prove that the hazard or defect on the highway caused the trip, slip or fall, it does not necessarily mean that the local council was at fault. If the local council can prove that the defect or hazard was minor, then the highway may not be considered dangerous and therefore the local council may not be considered at fault for the accident.
For example, a raised paving slab that has caused a trip will not generally be considered dangerous unless it is more than an inch or so high.
- The local council is under a duty to keep the footpath, pavement or road reasonably safe for users. This means that even if a defect or hazard has caused a trip, slip or fall, the local council may be able to prove it was not at fault if it can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent it.
For example, the local council is under a duty to regularly inspect its highways for defects or hazards. How regular the inspection will depend on how busy the highway is i.e. a busy main road will be inspected once per month, a quiet side-street will be inspected less often. If a local council can prove that the inspections were regular and reasonable, it may be able to prove that an accident that occurred between inspections was not their fault
- The local council may accept that it was at fault for the defect or hazard on the highway, but that this was not the sole cause of the trip, slip or fall accident. The local council may allege that the person who has tripped, slipped or fallen contributed to the accident and therefore the local council should not be held entirely at fault.
For example, if the local council can prove that at the time of the accident, the person who has tripped, slipped or fallen was on their phone or under the influence of alcohol or has ignored warning signs, then the local council may be able to prove that the person has contributed to the accident. In these circumstances, the person may not lose the case, although this is a possibility, but the amount of compensation may be reduced.
There are potential pitfalls to making a claim for compensation following a trip, slip or fall accident on a public highway. Therefore it is vital that you discuss the accident with a specialist personal injury lawyer so the accident circumstances can be assessed and you can be advised as to whether the claim has prospects of success in terms of being able to prove the local council was at fault.
What should I do if I have a trip, slip or fall on a footpath, pavement or road?
If you have an accident on a footpath, pavement or road, there are a few things you should do as quickly as possible. These are to ensure you and other people are safe, but also to help support your claim for compensation.
Read our article – https://leech.co.uk/what-to-do-trip-slip-accident/ – for full details of what to do and what not to do after a trip, slip or fall accident, but, basically, what you need to do is:
- Make sure the area is made safe for other people
- Take photographs of the scene and the cause of the accident
- Obtain details of any witnesses
- When you get home, write down a detailed account of the accident
- Go to your GP or Urgent Care / Walk-In Centre as soon as possible after the accident.
Do I need to contact the local council to report my trip / slip / fall accident?
It is vital that the accident is reported to the local council as soon as possible so that the hazard or defect can be repaired and the area made safe for other people. However, it is also vital that the hazard or defect is recorded and assessed for the purposes of making the claim. Therefore, we would advise you to discuss the matter with a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible so that an assessment of the case can be made and any evidence from the scene is obtained. The matter can then be reported to the local council.
How do I start to make a claim for compensation for my trip / slip / fall accident?
The way to start your claim for compensation following a trip, slip or fall on a footpath, pavement or road is to discuss the accident with a specialist personal injury lawyer who has experience of dealing with this type of claim.
At Leech & Co, we are specialist personal injury lawyers and we have dealt with claims resulting from all types of trip, slip and fall accidents in various types of footpaths, pavements and roads.
We are happy to discuss your accident with you and advise you as to whether you can make a claim and the prospects of success of the claim.
Leech & Co have a long and successful track record of securing for injured people the compensation they are entitled to following trip, slip and fall accidents. We guide our clients through the process, advise them in straightforward, jargon-free language and protect their legal interest at all times. We are proud of our work and we care for our clients.
Call us on 0161 749 9000 or click here to request a call back. We are friendly and approachable and we will always give you time to tell us all about what has happened.
Remember, our initial advice is free.
If you would quickly like to find out if you may be able to make a claim, go to our Claim Checker. [need link]
If you would quickly like to find out what your claim for compensation may be worth, go to our Claim Calculator. [need link]
Why choose Leech & Co to help you with your claim? Click here to find out why! [need link to “Why Choose Leech & Co section]
Would you like to find out more about making a claim for compensation following an accident? How about “https://leech.co.uk/do-i-have-to-instruct-a-solicitor-to-deal-with-my-claim/”