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UK Street Injury Claims

In the UK, street injury claims enable you to claim compensation when you have tripped and fallen in the street due to a poorly maintained pavement or sustained an injury while travelling along a road because of a dangerous pothole. Many councils and highway authorities now dispute street injury claims in the UK because, they say, that they do not have an “absolute” duty of care to provide the public with safe access. However, with professional legal help from a street injury claims solicitor on our helpline, you should be able to recover your full entitlement to street injury compensation.

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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Judge Approves Cyclist Injury Compensation for Brain Damaged Teenager

August 16, 2013

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of cyclist injury compensation for a man who suffered severe brain damage in a 2005 cycling accident.

Toby Phethean-Hubble from Knowle in Shropshire was just sixteen years of age when he attempted to cycle across the road outside the Whitchurch Leisure Centre in November 2005, and was hit by a car being driven by teenager Sam Coles.

Toby was thrown over the car in the incident and hit his head on the road when he landed – sustaining severe brain injuries from which it was considered he may not survive. However, following an operation to place a titanium plate into his skull, and years of determined physiotherapy, Toby is now able to walk with the aid of a frame.

Coles – who was driving his mother´s automatic for the first time after passing his driving test eight days earlier – told police investigating the accident that he had seen Toby cycling along the pavement, but was unable to prevent the collision when Toby left the pavement. He also confessed to driving at 35 miles per hour – 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Through his parents Toby claimed cyclist injury compensation against Coles, but Coles´ insurance company denied liability for their policyholder on the grounds that Toby was responsible for causing the accident. The Phethean-Hubble family pursued the cyclist injury compensation claim through the courts and, on March 2011, Judge Wilcox found in Toby´s favour – although reducing any compensation settlement by 33% to account for Toby´s contributory negligence.

Coles´ insurers appealed Judge Wilcox´s decision and, in April 2012, the Appeal Court increased the amount of Toby´s contributory negligence 50%. The case was subsequently adjourned for the assessment of damages and, last week at the High Court, Mr Justice Stewart approved a £5.3 million settlement of cyclist injury compensation that will allow Toby to continue receiving the specialist care he needs at a North Devon rehabilitation centre.

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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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Child Pedestrian Injury Claim Settled Out of Court

May 13, 2013

A young man from Birmingham is reported to have been awarded more than £1 million in compensation after his child pedestrian injury claim was settled out of court.

Lee Edge from Kings Heath in Birmingham made the child pedestrian injury claim after being hit by a car when he was twelve years of age in January 2005. The driver of the car was subsequently convicted of driving without due care and attention, but Lee suffered from poor memory, a lack of concentration and fatigue throughout his teens as a result of his injuries.

Through his mother – Sandra – Lee made a child pedestrian injury claim against the driver of the vehicle and, although details of the final settlement have not been made public, it is reported that Lee will receive more than £1 million in compensation.

Despite his injuries, Lee (now 21 years of age) achieved sufficiently high grades to attend a local college where he now studies Business Administration.

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Child Traffic Injury Compensation Claim Settled for 17,500 Euros

December 12, 2011

A 6 year old child, who was left with a permanent scar after being hit by a van in the street, has had his child traffic injury compensation claim settled for 17,500 Euros.

Warren Lavelle (6) of Tallaght, Dublin, was just three years of age when he was knocked over by a van while playing in the street near his home. Warren suffered head injuries as a result of the incident which left him with a permanent scar.

The driver of the van, John Connors – also of Tallaght, Dublin – admitted responsibility for Warren´s injuries and, at Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court, Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told that a 17,500 Euros settlement for Warren´s child traffic injury compensation claim had been agreed.

As is standard practice in the Republic of Ireland, all settlements for child injury compensation have to be approved by a judge before payment of compensation can be paid and, after reviewing the case, Judge Jacqueline Linnane approved the settlement.

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City Council Pays Compensation for Public Footpath Fall

December 5, 2011

Nathan Clarke of Ballymun, County Dublin,  won a case in the High Court that means  Dublin City Council pays compensation for public football fall to the order of €40,000 over alleged failure to clean broken glass from a public foothpath outside his home.

The accident happened in 2001 when Nathan Clarke was seven years old and resulted in extensive injuries to his left hand that needed surgery in Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

The public footpath fall action was taken by Nathan’s father Joseph Clarke, who acted as next friend in the High Court case.

It was claimed in court that Dublin City Council had failed to carry out its statutory duty to keep the foot path clean and that the council was guilty of nuisance by allowing broken glass to accumulate on the footpath in an area used by children to play.

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Pothole Trip Pensioner Receives 3,100 Pounds Award

September 20, 2011

A pensioner, who fractured his wrist when tripping over a pothole, has accepted a settlement offer of 3,100 pounds in personal injury compensation from Basildon Council.

Terence Wakefield (78) from Wickford, Essex, was visiting his local market in June 2010 when he tripped over a three inch pothole. Reaching his hand to break his fall, Terence landed heavily on his wrist and broke it.

Mr Wakefield spent the following six weeks with his arm in plaster and had to have extensive therapy on the wrist when the plaster was removed – during which time he was unable to ride his bicycle or partake in many of his usual hobbies.

Terence brought a compensation claim for personal injury compensation against Basildon Council, who were responsible for this section of the public footpath and, admitting liability for their negligence, settled Terence´s claim in the amount of 3,100 pounds.

Despite the settlement, it has been claimed by the victim that there are still twenty or more potholes in the vicinity of Wickford Market, and he knows of three similar claims against the council who are yet to fulfil their obligations and maintain a safe passageway for pedestrians.

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Brain Damaged Child awarded 800,000 pounds in Falling Window Compensation

July 17, 2011

A five year old boy, who was injured by a falling window frame when just an infant, has been awarded an interim falling window compensation payment of 800,000 pounds for his injuries.

Alexander Dance of Southwark, London, was just four months old when the accident happened in October 2006. He was being pushed in his buggy passed the Dover Castle Youth Hostel in Borough by his mother, Patricia, when a five foot high window dropped from the window and fractured his skull. After spending five days in the intensive care unit, Alexander was diagnosed with having suffered a brain haemorrhage and will require constant care for the rest of his live.

The owners of the property – Foreign Magic Ltd – were then fined 20,000 pounds at Camberwell Magistrates’ Court under the Health and Safety at Work Act, when an investigation into the accident revealed that defective window frames had been restrained by chains rather than fixed stays. After seeking legal advice, Patricia Dance also sued the owners for the personal injury her son had suffered.

At High Court, Deputy Judge David Pittaway QC found that Foreign Magic Ltd had indeed been negligent in their duty of care towards passers-by, and awarded Alexander an interim personal injury compensation settlement of 800,000 pounds. The final total is believed to be several million pounds.

The interim award will enable the family to move nearer to Alexander´s special care school in Chislehurst, Kent, and be used to establish a suitable care and management program for the boy.

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Broken Sewer Cover Settlement Awarded

June 13, 2011

A man, who sustained injuries to his legs when falling over a sewer cover, has won an undisclosed compensation settlement from Sheffield City Council.

Keith Unwin (62) of Gleadless, Sheffield, was walking across grassland to get to his garage in February 2010, when he tripped over a broken sewer cover and badly injured his legs and shins.

Complaining to Sheffield City Council that the grassland was poorly looked after, Keith was told that the authority was not responsible for his injuries and was advised that an alternative footpath existed which he should have used to access the garage.

However after seeking legal advice, and photographs of overgrown footpath which also suffered from broken street lighting, the authority admitted liability and agreed the undisclosed compensation amount.

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Trapdoor Compensation for Fall Victim

June 11, 2011

A courier, who suffered multiple injuries when falling through an unguarded trapdoor at the Albannach Whisky Restaurant Bar near Trafalgar Square, is to receive 20,000 pounds in personal injury compensation.

Ian Barnes was making a delivery to the London pub in April 2009, when he fell through a trap door that had been left open. Crashing heavily into the cellar below, he broke his back and tore the cruciate ligament in his knee. His injuries required major surgery and a long period of rehabilitation.

After seeking legal counsel, Ian, who runs his own delivery company E & C Barnes Courier Services, sued the Albannach Whisky Restaurant Bar for the injuries he sustained in the accident and for lost earnings during his recovery. In an out-of-court compensation award settlement, the city bar acknowledged it´s liability and agreed on the 20,000 pounds settlement.

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Cyclist Pothole Injury Compensation Award of 2,000 Pounds for Man

April 24, 2011

A Yorkshire cyclist, who sustained cuts and bruises when falling from his bike due to a pothole in the road, has received 2,000 pounds in cyclist pothole injury compensation in an out of court settlement.

Peter Lodge (52) of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, was cycling near his house in October 2008, when the front wheel his bike hit a pothole in the road and he was thrown over the handlebars. Although Peter´s injuries were not serious, as a member of Cyclist´s Tourist Club (CTC) he felt that action should be taken due to the poor state of the road.

As the pothole had been formed around a Yorkshire Water valve, it was determined that Yorkshire Water were responsible for maintaining that particular stretch of the road in a safe condition and, supported by the CTC, Peter took legal action against the water company.

Peter has now been awarded 2,000 pounds in cyclist pothole injury compensation, and the pothole has been repaired.

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Crash with Road Sign Compensation of 5,000 Pounds for Cyclist

February 14, 2011

A Bournemouth cyclist is to receive 5,000 pounds in cyclist accident compensation from the Borough of Poole, after suffering an injury when crashing into an unlit temporary road works sign.

Bournemouth County Court heard how Mr. Roger Excell, a machine engraver from Bournemouth, was cycling to work along a dedicated cycle path in the early hours of August 14, 2007, when  he hit the sign which had been left unlit on the path adjacent to Canford Way in Poole.

Despite having a strong headlight on his bicycle, Mr. Excell claimed that he did not see the road sign until it was too late to avoid it. The impact from the collision split Mr. Excell’s helmet, resulted in an injury to his elbow and torn muscles and ligaments in groin and legs.

The court heard that Mr. Excell was unable to walk correctly for months after the accident – having to use a Zimmer frame and walking stick for support, and undergoing a brain scan as a precaution against more severe injuries. Mr. Excell also had to take a week off from work during which time his wife, who suffers from arthritis, had to tend to him and perform the daily household chores he was unable to do.

Making the crash with road sign award of 5,000 pounds and ordering the Borough of Poole to pay a further 8,000 in costs, the judge at Bournemouth County Court said he wanted to make it clear that they (the Borough of Poole) have a responsibility to protect cyclists and other path users.

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Record UK Cyclist Crash Compensation Award for Commonwealth Competitor

September 19, 2010

A record 13.75 million pounds has been awarded in cyclist crash compensation to a former Commonwealth Games cyclist who suffered horrific injuries in a road traffic accident during a training ride in November 1998.

Manny Helmot, now aged 39, from Guernsey, represented the British Crown Dependency in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, and was looking forward to a promising career which was brought to an abrupt finish when he was struck by a car driven by Dylan Simon, also of Guernsey.

Manny sustained awful injuries in the accident, including the loss of use in his right arm, partial blindness and brain injury. He was 36 weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries, and has since been cared for by his mother, Rose, and her partner, Ken Jordan, in their adapted Guernsey home.

The negligent driver was convicted of dangerous driving and an initial award of 9 million pounds was made to him (Manny). However, Rose and Ken felt that this was insufficient to meet Manny’s lifelong needs and, at the Guernsey Court of Appeal, Judge Jonathon Sumption concurred.

By telling Simon’s insurers, Tradex, to pay a further 4.75 million pounds, the previous UK record compensation award of 11 million pounds – made earlier this year to a road traffic accident victim in Wolverhampton – was eclipsed.

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