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Highway Slip Trip Compensation

In theory your local council is responsible for any slips or trips that take place on public roads and pavements as they have a duty of care towards local residence. Accordingly, if they have breached that duty you could be entitled to make a compensation claim against them. In order to make sure that your claim is going to be successful you should consider the following:

The size of the defect

The rule here is simple: the larger the defect the larger the claim. So, if a paving stone is two or three inches higher than it should be, that is a greater defect than if it were only one inch out of place and will therefore be easier to show that a pedestrian could trip over.

Which pedestrians will use the pavement?

This might sound like an unusual point as everyone uses the pavement. However it can have more serious consequences for some people over others. For example, an out of place paving stone in front of a nursery is likely to be more dangerous than somewhere else along the highway as children run around and are therefore less likely to be able to spot it, resulting in a tripping accident.

Previous works conducted by the council

If the defect is due to recent substandard work it is obvious that the council are going to be responsible. If however, the defect is caused by wear and tear over a considerable period of time then the council is less likely to be liable as this is more of a natural process.

Previous complaints

Councils are required to keep a record of complaints made by the public about the highway. If a particular highway or a particular part of a highway has received a certain number of complaints and then an accident occurs there is more chance of a claim being successful.

The council’s defence

If you try and bring a personal injury compensation claim against the council in most cases the council are likely to say that they had in place a proper system of inspection. In order to rely on this defence the council must keep records of their inspections which you are entitled to see if you bring a claim.

No one would expect the council to assess every highway every week but if they are going to rely on this defence then they would be expected to have inspected the highway in question within the last 4-6 weeks.

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