Learn How To Make A Pavement Trip Claim Against A Council

By Max Malkovich. Last Updated 9th April 2024. On this page, we present a case study that demonstrates how a pavement trip claim against the council resulted in a £15,000 out of court compensation settlement. The purpose of this case study is to show you how in similar circumstances, as long as you are within the personal injury claims time limit, a personal injury lawyer could be able to process a claim for you.

This case study may raise questions about how the claim proceeded and how it relates to your own circumstances. If you do have questions that need to be answered, please talk to our team on 0161 696 9685. They will provide you with the answers and help you need.

A broken phone lying next to an unconscious person on the pavement

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Case Study: £15k Compensation Payout For Pavement Trip Claim Against A Council

In this case study, a gentleman was walking along a public pavement, when they got their foot trapped in a pothole. They subsequently fell over injuring their knee, ankle and shoulder. Because of the harm they had suffered, they decided to use a personal injury solicitor to help them to make a pothole accident claim.

As a result of the accident on the pavement, the victim suffered a severe soft tissue injury in the form of a tendon injury to their ankle and general cuts and bruises to their shoulder and knee. It was for these injuries and the subsequent effect that they had on the victim’s life that it was possible to make a personal injury claim for a pavement trip.

Upon diagnosis, it was found that the most serious of the injuries, the ankle injury, was going to take corrective surgery to try to fix the damaged tendons and ligaments. Afterwards, the victim would need to be in a plaster cast for up to 12 months, while they waited for the injury to heal sufficiently so that they could begin physiotherapy and complete their recovery.

The victim contacted a legal team, that was willing to take on his claim under a No Win No Fee agreement. The legal team advised the claimant to take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy, to cover legal costs if his case went to court and he lost. A claim was subsequently filed against the local authority that was responsible for the maintenance of the pavement where the accident took place.

The basis of the claim was section 41 of the Highways Act 1980. Which states that pavements must be kept in good repair. There is no official pavement trip hazard height, but it is the responsibility of the local authority to clearly mark any known pavement defects with a hazard sign, etc. which had not been done in this case. The council acknowledged receipt of the claim letter and indicated that they would begin investigating the situation immediately.

It took the council a total of 3 months to carry out this investigation. This included a period of 14 days at the end of the investigation when the claimant’s legal team informed the council that if they did not get a result within those 14 days, they would deem liability to have been denied. The council responded in their own letter, refuting liability, stating that the local authority is not obliged to make sure that pavement surfaces are maintained perfectly all the time. The local council stated that during the last inspection two months previously, the pavement was not damaged. Had it been, then repairs would have been made. The council provided maintenance records to back this up.

The claimant’s solicitor informed them that they would now need to prove that the defect was deemed legally dangerous and that the council had failed to repair it within an adequate timeframe, directly resulting in the accident the claimant suffered. Photographs of the scene of the accident were used to facilitate this.

The solicitor used these photographs to make two points. Firstly, that the damage was over 40mm deep, and this would take far longer than 9 weeks to develop, which was the time of the last inspection. Secondly, that the inspection should have been made on foot, when in fact it was made in a vehicle.

The council finally admitted liability and offered to pay compensation once the severity of the victim’s injuries was fully known. The legal team sent a medical report detailing the injuries to the local authority. As a result of this, the claimant was offered an out of court settlement by the council of £10,000. The claimant was unhappy with this and stated they wanted £17,000 in compensation. The council made a further offer of £12,000. Further negotiations followed, and the claimant finally settled on an offer of compensation for £15,000, without taking the claim to court.

This £15,000 was paid to the claimant to compensate them for the injury and the pain and suffering they went through, and the very long recuperation period until they were back on their feet again.  Compensation was paid to cover the loss of earnings that was included in the claim.

Pavement Trip Accidents And Injuries Caused By A Council

The local authority is responsible for maintaining public roads and footpaths in good order. Therefore, in certain circumstances, it can be possible to make a claim for a slip, trip or fall against the council. Additionally, the local highway authority shares responsibility for certain aspects of road maintenance. And similarly, if it is responsible for a member of the public slipping, tripping or falling, it can be sued, as the highway authority has a duty of care towards all road users.

In some cases, such as potholes causing an accident, the pothole must have been reported to a highway authority contact before the accident in order for a claim to be valid. Although this can differ deepening on the actual circumstances of the accident. Most local authorities have a website where the public can report a problem with the pavement.

What Could You Receive In Compensation For A Pavement Trip Claim Against A Council?

You may want to use an online compensation payout calculator to give you a better idea of what you could receive. However, these tools are not always accurate as some struggle to accommodate for all of the complexities of a personal injury case.

You would only be able to receive compensation from council compensation claims if you can prove that your injury or injuries were caused by council negligence. Factors that could determine your general damages compensation amount include the severity of the injury and how badly the injury has negatively impacted your life.

The Judicial College Guidelines can give you a better idea as to what you could receive. Information about previous successful court claims from Wales and England have been used to build compensation brackets. The figures shown have been taken from the latest guidelines, published in 2022.

Multiple Severe Injuries with Financial LossesSevereUp to £200,000+A compensation award for suffering multiple severe injuries and for their financial losses, such as medical expenses, travel costs and lost earnings.
FootVery severe£102,470 to £133,810All severe foot injuries that will fall short of actual loss of a foot, but have the same effect as amputation on the life of the person. Full paralysis or loss of use of the foot, loss of mobility and a serious life-changing disability. Chronic pain and arthritis in the medium term.
FootSevere£51,220 to £85,460All foot injuries that will leave the victim with a recognisable disability, and potentially a significant loss of mobility. There may be chronic pain and further complications such as osteoarthritis later in life.
WristSignificant Permanent Disability£29,900 to £47,810Some useful movement will still remain in the wrist.
HandSevere Fractures to FingersUp to £44,840This type of injury may lead to amputations and result in a deformity with impaired girp.
HandModerate£6,910 to £16,200Deep lacerations, penetrating wounds, soft tissue or crush injuries.
AnkleModerate£16,770 to £32,450Difficulty walking and standing for long periods with awkwardness on stairs due to ligamentous tears or fractures.
KneeModerate (i)£18,110 to £31,960Injuries involving a torn cartilage, torn meniscus or dislocation that causes minor instability.
LegLess Serious (ii)£11,120 to £17,180A simple femur fracture with no damage suffered to the articular surfaces.

Please remember that these figures should only be used as guidance as every claim is different. If you have further queries about receiving council compensation payouts in the UK, please contact us for free using the details above.

How long does it take for compensation to pay out?

The time it takes for compensation to be paid can depend on the specific circumstances of the claim. For instance, if the defendant admits liability and offers a settlement before the claim goes to court, you may receive compensation sooner. However, if the defendant doesn’t admit liability and the claim proceeds to court, the time it takes for you to receive compensation may be longer.

For more information on the council compensation claims, call our team on the number above.

No Win No Fee Pavement Trip Accident Claims

Now that you know more about how much compensation for tripping on the pavement you could receive, you might be curious about hiring a solicitor to help you make a claim.

Working on a personal injury claim with the help of a legal professional can have several benefits. For example, the claims process may feel less complex when you work with a professional, because they can use their years of experience to explain any areas of the claim that you might not understand. 

A solicitor can help you gather evidence by arranging an independent medical assessment, talking to witnesses, and collating photographs and video footage. They can also help you negotiate a settlement and communicate with the other party. 

Our panel of solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis and offer those who work with them a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under a CFA, you don’t need to pay any fees to your solicitor in order for them to start working on your claim, and you don’t pay for their services if the claim fails. 

If it succeeds, then your solicitor will take a success fee from your compensation as a small percentage. This percentage is legally capped, which helps to make sure you keep the larger share of your compensation.

To find out if a solicitor from our panel could help you:

Supporting Information

These pages may have useful information:

The Highways Act 1980

Road Safety At Work

Info About Ankle Pain

These other guides might also be helpful:

How To Make A Pavement Accident Claim

Slip, Trip And Fall Claims

Claiming For An Accident In A Public Park

Permanent Scar Compensation Claims

Arm Injury Claims