Tripped on a pavement due to poor maintenance?

The Highway authority has a duty to maintain roads and footpaths and if there has been a failure with regards to this duty and you have suffered from personal injury due to a trip, slip or fall on the pavement, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Although many people are entitled to make a compensation claim, not every trip, slip or fall on a pavement will be successful. You have a duty of your own to control your own safety as much as you can and to make sure you look where you are going and to make sure that you wear suitable shoes. If you were to trip, slip or fall on a raised paving slab, it could be the case that you are held responsible yourself depending on the circumstances of course.

The highway authority however, does have a duty to take reasonable measures to keep areas safe and should have an appropriate system for all highway inspections, making sure roads and pavements are safe. If the authority were to find any defects at the time of inspection, it is then their duty to repair these hazards and signpost them correctly. If the highway authority has been negligent in doing this you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.

What you should do if you’ve been injured by an unsafe pavement

If you have had a trip, slip or fall on a pavement which you believe is defective and the highway authority should have repaired this pavement as it is a hazard you should firstly take a photograph of the defective area making sure its exact location can be identified. You will also need to take a photograph proving the depth of the defect; you could use a 50p piece by standing it up against the defect to prove the depth of a pothole or the height of a raised slab.

If the defect is less than 2.5cm it is unlikely that the court will force the highway authority to pay you any compensation. The Courts have decided that the height or depth of any defect has to be more than 1 inch in order to be actionable in the Courts against the Council. This is different in the case of a trip on private property.

Each slip, trip and fall case is different and they all have different circumstances. Even if your defect is less than 1 inch it is still worth referring it to us to assess whether the defect is substantial enough in its own right to proceed to trial.