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UK Pedestrian Accidents

In the UK, pedestrian accidents can occur due to the negligence of a road user or a lack of care from somebody who has responsibility for maintaining footpaths and pavements in a safe condition. Many pedestrian accident claims for compensation are complicated by local authorities not having an “absolute” duty of care in the maintenance of pedestrian rights of way and, if you have any questions about your eligibility to make pedestrian accident claims in the UK, you are invited to call our freephone helpline and speak directly with an experienced pedestrian accidents solicitor.

Blackpool Council Denies Liability in Pothole Injury Compensation Claim

March 21, 2016

Blackpool Council is denying liability in a pothole injury compensation claim on the grounds that the pothole on which the plaintiff tripped was too small.

In December last year, Blackpool resident Barbara Fielding (53) was walking her dog along Windermere Road when she tripped on a pothole and fell badly. Barbara sustained multiple cuts and bruises as a result of her fall, and underwent a CT scan at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital to identify any signs of brain damage.

Fortunately, Barbara suffered no internal injury as a result of her accident but, for the next five weeks, spent much of her time in bed suffering from depression. Barbara took photographs of her injuries and sent them to Blackpool Council to support a pothole injury compensation claim. However, the council denied it was liable for her injuries due to the pothole not being sufficiently deep enough to qualify for compensation.

In a written reply to Barbara´s pothole injury compensation claim, Blackpool Council explained that regular inspections of the town´s roads are conducted, and any pothole with a depth of 40mm or more reported and repaired. The council claims that Windermere Road had been inspected in June 2015, and no potholes were identified as needing repair at the time.

Speaking to her local newspaper, Barbara expressed her disappointment at the council´s denial of liability. “They say the hole isn’t big enough to be considered a pothole – but how big does a hole have to be?” Barbara told the Blackpool Gazette, “They know the extent of the injuries I had because they’ve got the photographs”. Barbara is now considering whether or not to take formal legal action.

Editor´s Note: In Pitman v. Southern Electricity Board (1978), the claimant´s pothole injury compensation claim was decided on the length of time that a pothole has presented a risk of injury in relation to the volume of foot traffic on the road where it is located. The claimant was awarded compensation even though the pothole on which she tripped was just 3mm in depth.

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Courier Reports on Falls in the Street due to Potholes

November 2, 2015

Falls in the street due to potholes are becoming so commonplace in the Highlands that more than £½ million is outstanding in personal injury claims.

According to the Inverness Courier, more than £600,000 has been claimed for injuries related to falls in the street due to potholes in the Highlands over the past six years. As only a fraction of these claims has been resolved in this time, the Highland Council has a potential injury compensation liability in excess of £½ million.

Reporting on the injury claims for falls in the street due to potholes, the Inverness Courier revealed that the largest outstanding claim was made by a resident who suffered a serious back injury when tripping and falling over a pothole in Baron Taylor Street in February 2012. The victim is claiming £147,591 compensation for his injury.

The outstanding claims for injury compensation for falls in the street due to potholes were revealed following a Freedom of Information request to the Highland Council. Many of these date back more than two years and include:

  • A claim for £25,615 compensation made by a plaintiff who suffered a leg injury suffered in a trip and fall accident in January 2013 on Fortrose´s Tavern Road.
  • A claim for £15,387 compensation dating from an accident in July 2014 when a pedestrian suffered serious facial injuries due to falling over a pothole on Inverness´s Southside Road.
  • A claim for £3,637 compensation made in respect of a June 2014 accident, when another Inverness resident sustained a back injury due to a trip and fall accident in the City Centre.

The Highland Council was ranked third-worst of the thirty-two Scottish local authorities for the condition of its roads in last year´s Scottish Maintenance Road Condition Survey, and residents complain that the situation is getting worse.  More than six thousand road and pavement maintenance faults were reported to the Highland Council last year – although these figures are likely to include multiple reports of the same fault from different members of the public.

Responding to the significant number of outstanding injury claims for falls in the street due to potholes, a council spokesperson said: “In 2014/15 the council set aside funding to be used in identifying and testing better ways to achieve a shift towards more potholes being repaired permanently rather than temporarily and also to identify cost effective and sustainable recycling techniques for more substantial repairs to road construction”.

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Legal Advice Sought about a Claim for a Fall due to a Broken Pavement

May 2, 2015

A man from Noak Bridge in Essex is seeking legal advice about making a claim for a fall due to a broken pavement after his mother sustained multiple injuries in an accident in Southend.

Gwendoline Smith (76) suffered multiple injuries when she tripped over the raised edge of a broken paving and fell heavily – injuring her shoulder, leg and head – as she got off the bus in Bournemouth Park Road in Southend.

As ambulance was summoned and Gwendoline was taken to Southend Hospital with a suspected fractured knee. She was discharged on the same day after x-rays revealed no fracture, but has since had to return to Basildon Hospital to receive medical attention for lumps on her head accompanied by frequent headaches, and pains in her left shoulder and leg.

In an interview with the local press, Gwendoline´s son – Michael, who lives close to his mother in Noak Bridge – revealed that he is seeking legal advice about making a claim for a fall due to a broken pavement. He said: “The pavement was cracked and raised up – she caught the corner of it and just went over”.

However, making a claim for a fall due to a broken pavement is not always easy. Although the height of the raised edge of the broken pavement is considered to be immaterial (the much mis-quoted “one-inch-rule” is a myth), the council does not have an “absolute” duty of care to repair cracks in paving stones as soon as they appear.

Before they are considered liable in personal injury claims, local authorities are allowed a “reasonable” amount of time to identify and repair hazards such as cracked paving stones. If the hazard had only recently materialised, it may be the case that Gwendoline might not have a viable claim for a fall due to a broken pavement.

A spokesman for the council said: “We regularly inspect all pavements in the borough and repair any dangerous defects as a matter of priority. We have not had any reports of problems in this area, but of course, we take matters like this seriously and a member of our Environmental Care team will visit the site and inspect the area”.

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Woman Settles Claim for Being Injured in Zebra Crossing Accident

October 9, 2014

A woman, who sustained broken limbs when she was hit by a car as she crossed a city centre street, has settled her claim for being injured in a zebra crossing accident for an undisclosed amount.

Janet Churchley (57) was stepping out onto a zebra crossing on Carr Lane in the city centre of Hull when, in December 2011, she was hit by a car. The impact of the car hitting Janet´s leg caused it to break and, due to the way in which she fell back onto the road, Janet´s arm was also broken in the accident.

An ambulance was called and paramedics treated Janet with gas and air before taking her to the Royal Hull Infirmary by ambulance where she underwent surgery to ensure that the broken bones in her arms and legs would heal correctly. Janet was subsequently confined to a wheel chair for three months.

During her recovery period, Janet had to keep her leg outstretched and was totally dependent on her husband for carrying out routine chores such as washing and dressing. Janet had to sleep downstairs on the sofa because it was the only way she could sleep comfortably and attended her son´s wedding in the wheelchair.

It was almost a year later that Janet was able to return to work; and then she found that she was only able to work part-time. She also found that she became anxious whenever she was about to cross a road and – after seeking legal advice – Janet made a compensation claim for being injured in a zebra crossing accident.

Despite the negligent car driver acknowledging that he had been distracted on the approach to the zebra crossing, and that his lack of care had been responsible for Janet´s injuries, his insurance company disputed how much compensation Janet was claiming in relation to her loss of earnings.

An interim payment of compensation was organised in order that Janet would not be out of pocket and, after a period of protracted negotiations, the insurance company finally settled Janet´s claim for being injured in a zebra crossing accident for an undisclosed five-figure amount.

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Bite Victim gets Compensation for being Mauled by Dog

July 2, 2014

A woman, who suffered cuts and bruises when she tried to prevent her dog being attacked by another, has been awarded £15,000 injury compensation for being mauled by a dog.

Rebecca Lambert was walking her puggle pup and westie along Lilly Hall Road in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, when a bull terrier off its lead ran towards her and her two dogs. Although the owner shouted a warning that the bull terrier was aggressive, Rebecca did not have enough time to lift her two dogs to safety, and the bull terrier started to attack her puggle.

Forty-one year old Rebecca tried to fight the bull terrier off from her dog, but the attack continued for 15 minutes – during which time Rebecca sustained cuts and bruises to her face, hands and thighs. It was only with the assistance from passers-by that the attack came to end, after which time the owner of the dog fled when the police arrived and an ambulance was called.

Fortunately one of the passer-bys was able to revive the puggle pup, and it was taken to the vets for life-saving surgery. The owner of the dog was traced after a police investigation, and he was charged with offences against the Animals Act 1971 – the bull terrier subsequently being put down.

Rebecca sought legal advice and claimed compensation for being mauled by a dog against the bull terrier´s owner. The owner admitted liability for the attack, and a settlement of compensation for being mauled by a dog was agreed to cover Rebecca´s physical and psychological injuries and the cost of the vet´s fees she had incurred.

Speaking after the claim for being mauled by a dog had been resolved, Rebecca´s solicitor told reporters that 6,000 people are injured in dog attacks annually, but not everyone is aware that it is possible to claim compensation for being mauled by a dog.

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Smaller Compensation Claims for Personal Injuries to be Settled Quicker

August 5, 2013

Smaller compensation claims for personal injuries are to be settled quicker following reforms introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act which came into place on 1st August 2013.

The new Civil Procedure Rules governing court action in England and Wales have been amended in order to reduce the time it takes to settle personal injury claims with a value of up to £25,000 when a single party is responsible for an injury occurring and liability is admitted by their insurance company.

Not all compensation claims for personal injuries fall under the new rules – for example, claims for medical negligence still have to go through a lengthy process – but most claims for personal injuries in road traffic accidents, personal injuries sustained in an accident at work and those acquired in a place of public access (public liability claims) should be settled up to three months quicker than previously.

The reforms are being applied to the Ministry of Justice´s “claims portal” – a database on which solicitors register their clients´ claims – and whereas previously insurance companies could take twenty-one days to acknowledge receipt of a solicitor´s “Letter of Claim”, they now have to act within 24 hours.

Furthermore, insurance companies could previously take 90 days before informing a solicitor whether or not they accepted their policyholder´s responsibility for an accident and injury. They are now allowed only 30 days in the case of claims for personal injuries in road traffic accidents and public liability claims, and 40 days when a claimant has suffered an injury at work due to their employer´s negligence.

Should insurance companies fail to adhere to the new regulations, the claim will be removed from the Ministry of Justice´s claims portal and any increase in costs will have to be assumed by the insurance company irrespective of whether they successfully defend the claim or not.

The new rules apply to compensation claims for personal injuries in which an injury has been diagnosed on or after the 1st August, and only apply to injuries sustained in England and Wales that the claimant was not partly responsible for due to their own lack of care. Further exclusions apply to the reforms applied to compensation claims for personal injuries and therefore it is always in your best interests to discuss the nature of your accident and injury with a solicitor at the first moment possible.

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Haringey Council Act to Reduce Personal Injuries due to Dangerous Potholes

May 21, 2013

A North London borough has announced plans to reduce the number of personal injuries due to dangerous potholes by revising its inspection and repair policy.

Haringey Council announced the decision to invest £109 million into maintaining the streets and pavements in the borough following the settlement of a compensation claim for personal injuries due to dangerous potholes to an Australian charity worker.

An investigation into the accident in which Kyle Bullock sustained permanent brain damage after tripping and falling on a seven-centimetre pothole on Lightfoot Road in Hornsey revealed that the Council´s current policy was costing more money in the settlement of claims for personal injuries due to dangerous potholes than it was saving.

The investigation also revealed that 92% percent of the borough´s pavements and roads are inspected for dangerous potholes only twice a year.

Now, according to a council spokesperson, Haringey Council intend to increase that frequency and act on any pothole with a depth of three centimetres or less within six days rather than the current twenty-eight days. The revised program to reduce the number of personal injuries due to dangerous potholes will provisionally run for six months after which time it´s success will be reviewed.

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Personal Injury Compensation for a Car Accident Abroad Approved in Court

May 18, 2013

A man who was left in a coma after being hit by a car in Rome has had a settlement of injury compensation for a car accident abroad approved in court.

James Kennedy (now 37 years of age) was on vacation in Rome with friends when, on 14 January 2006, the recruitment consultant from Gosforth in Newcastle was hit by a car while trying to cross the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele in Rome´s ‘Eternal City’.

James was taken to the city´s Santo Spirito Hospital, where he remained in a coma for ten months suffering from catastrophic brain injuries and multiple fractures. Although now considered by his doctors to be ‘mentally acute’, James´ physical injuries mean that he is confined to a wheelchair and he also suffers from poor memory and a lack of concentration due to the brain damage he sustained in the accident.

Because of his inability to focus for long periods of time, James made a person injury claim for a car accident abroad through his mother Elaine against the driver of the vehicle – Father John Cole of Merthyr Tydfil.

Father Cole´s insurance company initially contested the claim on the grounds that James had been wearing dark clothing on the night of the accident and had ‘kept no proper lookout’ before stepping out into the street.

A negotiated agreement was reached in October 2009, in which the insurance company accepted 80 percent liability for James´ injuries and the person injury claim for a car accident abroad was adjourned for the assessment of damages.

An interim payment of injury compensation for a car accident abroad was paid to James earlier this year to enable him to move into a more suitable home and, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Bean approved a final settlement of a £3 million lump sum and index-linked, tax-free payments of £210,000 every year to pay for the cost of the care and support James will need for the rest of his life.

The judge ordered that the settlement of injury compensation for a car accident abroad be managed by the Court of Protection and commented  that James risked having a bigger percentage deducted from the settlement for his contributory negligence had the case been resolved by a trial.

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Young Pedestrian’s Compensation To Be Used To Repair Scarring

January 20, 2011

A young pedestrian, who was knocked down and injured on a pedestrian crossing, is to receive 14,000 pounds in compensation even though the negligent driver who caused his injuries is both uninsured and disqualified from driving.

Liam Brickell, (7) of the Wirral, Merseyside, was just three years of age when the incident happened. Liam and his mother were crossing a road near their home, when the motorist failed to observe a red traffic light and hit both of them.

Liam was badly bruised and sustained cuts all over himself. Many of the cuts have become permanent scars, including a six inch gash on the back of Liam’s head. Liam also suffered from frequent and painful headaches for six months following the accident.

The compensation, which is to be paid by the Motor Insurers Bureau, will allow Liam to have plastic surgery to remove the majority of his physical scars, but the psychological damage that was caused by this reckless driver may take much longer to heal.

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Compensation Awarded for Dog Bite Injury

September 28, 2010

A dog owner has been told to pay 2,000 pounds compensation after her Staffordshire Bull Terrier attacked and bit another dog owner’s arm.

Kidderminster Magistrates Court told how the unnamed owner from Bewdley, Hereford and Worcestershire, had allowed her dog off the lead in a wooded area off the Cleobury Road.

The dog ran over to a nearby Jack Russell, and its owner – fearing the smaller dog was about to be attacked – leaned forward to pick her dog up.

The Bull Terrier then bit the second owner, tearing a piece out of her arm and leaving the injury in need of stitches which will result in a permanent scar.

During the legal hearing, the owner of the Bull Terrier was ordered to pay the victim 2,000 pounds compensation and ensure that her dog wears a muzzle at all times.

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