If you’ve tripped on broken pavement, and suffered an injury as a result of a pavement accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
Slips, trips and falls on pavements are all too common. Sometimes, they’re just accidents where we trip over our shoelaces or aren’t paying attention to where we’re going. In these cases, we feel a little silly, but we get back up and keep on walking.
However, there are also times when serious accidents happen because a stretch of pavement hasn’t been adequately maintained. For example, this might include cracked surfaces causing an uneven pavement, or raised pavement due to tree roots, potholes, and damaged curbs.
After suffering from a trip or fall because of a pavement defect, you might need to spend time in hospital or see a doctor. If your injuries are bad, you’ve likely had to take time off work which can be expensive and stressful.
Suffering because of somebody else’s negligence can feel very unfair – and the situation can get much worse if you also have to worry about your finances on top of everything else.
If your accident happened in the last three years and occurred due to poorly maintained paving, there’s a good chance an expert personal injury solicitor will be able to help you claim maximum compensation.
Your compensation could cover the costs of your injury and the impact it’s had on your life.
It’s a good idea to call a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 as soon as possible while the accident’s still fresh in your mind. They’ll speak to you for free and can put you in touch with a specialist solicitor to help you start your case.
In the UK, pavement accidents are common – which is unfortunate as they’re also highly avoidable. When you’re using public walkways, you’re using public land, which is the local authorities’ responsibility.
Find out more about making claims against the council.
There are laws in place to ensure safety when members of the public use pavements, and the local authority have a legal duty of care to protect you from accident and injury. Most importantly, it’s their responsibility to ensure each pavement is safe to use.
According to the Highways Act 1980, the local authority has to check pavements regularly to ensure they’re safe and free from obstructions.
Although there’s no official legal definition of unsafe pavement, based on cases brought to court in the past, a defect of more than an inch in height is generally thought of as ‘unreasonable’.
You can’t however claim for a fall on a public pavement if it wasn’t down to human error. For example, if you were using your phone while walking and stepped off the pavement, you wouldn’t be eligible.
If you’re unsure whether you could claim, you can speak to a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438, who will be able to let you know whether the pavement damage which caused your trip could be considered ‘unreasonable’ – and can tell you whether they think you can make a pavement compensation claim.
If you trip over on privately owned land – such as in a supermarket car park – you might still be able to make a compensation claim. In these cases, your lawsuit will be against the person or company that owns the land.
Private land and property owners have a responsibility under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 to ensure their property is safe, including making specific pathways free from tripping hazards.
While human error accounts for many pavement accidents, sometimes the local authority or private landowner is at fault.
The most common causes of pavement injuries include:
While some people might have a minor fall and end up with some cuts and bruises, others might have more severe injuries that need treatment.
Find out more about snow and ice slip compensation.
Minor injuries include:
Major injuries sustained include:
Regardless of how serious your injury is, if you can prove that you weren’t at fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation.
Any of the above injuries will interrupt a person’s daily life, but the impact of hip and back injuries can be devastating for senior citizens.
If you’re eligible to make a pavement accident claim, the first step is to contact a free legal advice service such as Claims UK.
The fully trained legal advisors will assess your case, and if they feel you have a case to bring, they’ll refer you an experienced personal injury solicitor who will take on your case on a no win no fee basis.
Most pavement accident compensation claims are handled by no win no fee solicitors because they offer the best outcome during the claims process.
No solicitor will take on your case if they feel you won’t win because they don’t get paid unless the decision goes in your favour.
If you don’t go this route, you could be paying hefty solicitors fees with no clear idea about whether you’ll win your case.
Once the solicitor agrees to represent you, they’ll begin gathering evidence for your pavement accident compensation claim. The main goal for any solicitor is to build a strong case that proves the private landowner or authority was at fault.
To make a claim after a trip or fall on a pavement, your solicitor will need to prove two main things:
Not all pavement damage is someone’s fault. Poor weather can make many walkways and pavements dangerous, and you should wear footwear for the conditions, slow down and take extra care.
Sometimes, the property owner or local authority might be expected to put up warning signs, but that depends on the circumstances. The fact is, sometimes accidents do happen when no one can be held responsible.
However, if you think someone was negligent and you slipped or tripped through no fault or your own, your solicitor will need to prove that they failed to uphold their duty of care to you and that this directly caused your injuries.
An essential part of any successful claim is showing that the local authority knew about the damaged pavement but hadn’t repaired it within a reasonable time.
If your local authority says that the defect was new and they didn’t know about it, then your solicitor can put in a Freedom of Information request – this means they’ll need to give information on the inspection regime and share any reports of faulty pavements.
While your solicitor will go out of their way to build the most robust case possible for you, you can gather a few details that might help your claim go smoothly.
Photographic evidence is one of the most vital pieces of evidence for pavement trip and fall claims. As soon as you can, it’s best to take pictures of the damaged walkway or pavement, using a ruler or tape measure in the photo to show the size.
Other things which will help with your case are:
Once all the evidence is ready, your solicitor will present the personal injury claim to the responsible party and begin negotiations. There’s no set timeframe for settling the claim, but if you can prove that the local council was at fault, they’ll probably want to settle out of court.
Sometimes, the case will go to court, and your solicitor will continue representing you throughout the proceedings.
The personal injury solicitors will take a commission from your claim, but you pay nothing until you win the case.
Once your pavement accident claim is settled, you’ll receive the money (after legal fees) and can move on with your life.
Once your solicitor has found out a bit more about your injury and how your accident happened, they may be able to give you a rough idea of how much compensation you could receive.
For example, minor ankle injuries, including fractures which fully heal, may be worth around £5,000. But if your injuries are more serious, it’s much more difficult for us to estimate how much you could get.
Your compensation is based on the injury you’ve suffered, its severity and its impact on your life. These can vary a lot from case to case – so it’s hard to give you a figure early in the process.
However, you can try our compensation calculator to get a rough guideline. These figures do not include compensation for financial damages, such as lost wages due to time off work.
The final amount you receive will take into account these losses and compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the injury itself.
Once you receive your compensation, you can do what you want with it. Some people use it to pay for earnings losses due to work absences or invest in private medical treatments to facilitate a speedier recovery.
If you’d like to discuss your eligibility to make a claim, please don’t hesitate to contact the Claims UK team. Our free service partners with the National Accident Helpline, and we have a team of fully trained legal advisors to help.
To find out more, call 0800 234 6438 or request a callback by submitting the online claim form. We look forward to helping you with your claim.
A landowner’s duty of care applies to everyone, so you may still be able to claim even if you were trespassing on someone’s land. However, your solicitor will need to get enough evidence to prove that the property owner failed in their duty of care and that your injuries happened directly.
Your solicitors will never judge your wrongdoing – they’ll only be concerned with helping you make a successful claim to compensate you for your injuries.
The general limit for personal injury claims is three years, but some exceptions exist. If a claimant lacks the capacity to file for compensation, an allocated person can claim their name.
Child injuries also don’t fall under the limit, as individuals have the right to make a claim when they turn 18.
As soon as you see a doctor for your injury, you should ask for a document that details your injuries. You can also have a diary that logs how your injuries impact your daily life and any days off work due to pain or ongoing treatments.
You’ll also need a medical assessment, which your solicitor will set up. During the assessment, the doctor will perform a complete examination of your injuries and write a report for both parties.
In most cases, a successful claim requires the pavement to be taller or deeper than one inch. However, if you’re unsure whether you’re eligible, please contact us for more information.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.
By submitting your personal data, you agree for your details to be sent to National Accident Law so they can contact you to discuss your claim.
If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.