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”.