Trips and slips where do you stand

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer injuries as a result of slipping or tripping on a defective piece of road or pavement, for example into a pothole, the place where you fell is of key importance as to your chances of succeeding in claiming compensation.

Most roads, pavements, snickets etc are owned and maintained by the local authority in whose area the road/pavement is.

What each local council has to do by law is produce and keep up to date a code of practice which indicates how often they inspect and maintain the roads/pavements they are responsible for.

The more frequently  the pavement/road is used, the more often the inspection has to be.

For example, a precinct in a busy town centre would be expected to be subject to inspections of at least every two weeks or at most once a month.

A remote footpath in the countryside may only be subject to inspections once each year.

So long as the local authority carry out a reasonable inspection in accordance with their code of practice, they are only then going to be responsible for injuries occurring in between dates of inspection if they have been informed by a member of the public that a problem has arisen and the local authority have failed to take steps to either repair it, or at least cordon it off with barriers to prevent people from going in the vicinity of the defect.

I do not know about you but I do not think that I have ever seen a local authority highways inspection vehicle!

They are supposed to proceed very slowly down each road in both directions to allow the passenger to view the road surface and the pavements and where necessary stop the vehicle and get out to physically inspect the road/pavement surface.  

The vehicles supposedly have mirrors on the underside to allow them to look at roads and pavements which may be obscured by parked cars etc.

If you are unlucky enough to fall on land owned and maintained by the council it is critical to take independent legal advice as soon as possible.

There is a checklist of things to see to and the sooner they are seen to the better.

For example, the most important piece of evidence is photographs of the defect which must be taken with a camera lying flat on the ground with a measuring stick leading up to the underneath of a spirit level to show the depth of the defect, whether that is a pothole or a missing kerbstone.

Photographs taken standing up pointing the camera down are no good at all because they do not show depth.  

Everything has to be measured and monitored.

A careful solicitor will ensure that the evidence is properly collected as promptly as possible in order to maximise the chances of a successful claim.

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