Public Pavement And Road Defect Accident Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation For A Pavement Defect?

Public Pavement And Road Defect Accident Claim

Public Pavement And Road Defect Accident Claim

By Daniel Sarson. Last Updated On 21st March 2022. Some people are usually not aware of the damage and defects on public pavements unless they are injured.  However, when you are involved in a public pavement and road defect accident, who do you contact and are you able to make a personal injury claim for your injuries?

This guide has been provided to answer questions you may have regarding pavement accident claims but if you want to ask any other questions, contact us here. Or, call us on 0800 408 7825.

Please carry on reading this helpful guide to find out all you need know before beginning a claim.

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A Guide To Public Pavement And Road Defect Accident Claims

Many pavements form part of the public highway.  This means they should be inspected, maintained and repaired by local authorities (usually the Highways Agency or local councils).  If you’re injured in a public place, such as on a path or pavement, you may have the right to make a compensation claim for your injuries if it can be proven that a third party has been negligent.

This guide will explain what to do following a pavement accident, what amounts of compensation may be awarded for specific injuries and some examples of accidents that could be caused through public defected damaged pavements and roads.

We’ll also try to answer questions such as:

  • “Can I sue the council for a pothole injury?”
  • “How do I report a street fault?”
  • “What is the council’s responsibility for pavements?”
  • “How do I make a claim after a fall?”
  • “Can I claim against somebody’s public liability insurance?”

Not all accidents in public places can be claimed for as there are regulations that council can use to defend themselves.  We’ll provide information on the reasons a claim may or may not be valid later on.

If you’re not sure if you have a valid claim after reading this guide, we’d recommend speaking with a personal injury lawyer for advice on your claim.

Making a claim early is important as there are is a personal injury claims time limit in the UK.  This is 3 years from the date of the accident or the date you became aware of the diagnosis.   Contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon after the accident as possible will allow them time to build a thorough case.  If your claim is made after the deadline, it will be rejected automatically.

In the case of a child being injured, a parent or responsible adult may help them claim while they’re under 18.  Otherwise, their 3-year time limit begins from their 18th birthday.

What Is An Accident Caused By Defects On The Road Or Pavement?

A highway accident claim may be possible in cases where a defect such as a pothole, raised kerb, exposed tree roots, missing manhole cover or any other pavement trip hazard caused an accident to happen and where the victim sustained an injury because of the defect. It is important to note that not all accidents that happen due to a public pavement or road defect will meet the criteria for pursuing a compensation claim.

Claims could be made by cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, motorists etc.  Compensation will usually be claimed to cover pain and suffering as well as any costs which may include repairing a vehicle.  We’ll provide information on what can be included in a claim later in this guide.

In the majority of public pavement and road defect accident claims, the claim may be made against a local council.  To do so, evidence needs to be provided that they didn’t inspect or maintain the road in conjunction with the Highways Act 1980.  We’ll provide more detail about this later on.

Accident Personal Injury Claims Calculator

If you’re looking for a personal injury claims calculator, then the table below will really help.  Claiming for a public pavement and road defect accident is done in the same way as other personal injury claims.  This means that personal injury lawyers, courts and insurers use similar information that has been displayed in the table below when deciding how much compensation to award.

InjurySeverityRangeDetails
BackMinor to severeUp to £141,150Typically, in this range injuries will start with bruises and sprains and go on to injuries that cause restricted movement and be painful until healed (long term).
NeckMinor to severeUp to £130,060Typically, in this range injuries will start simple soft tissue injuries and go through to those injuries will lead to permenant pain and loss of movement.
Hand Minor to seriousUp to £54,280Typically, in this range injuries will start soft tissue damage and go through to loss of use of the hand (long term)
WristMinor to severeUp to £52,480Typically, in this range injuries will start tissue damage and go through to loss of the use of the wrist (for the long term).
ArmModerate to severeUp to £114,810Typically, in this range injuries will start injuries that heal eventually but are painful, and on to injuries which cause arm causing paralysis.
FingerMinor to severeUp to £21,920Typically, in this range injuries will start simple soft tissue damage Injuries and go through to amputation of one or multiple fingers.
ThumbMinor to severeUp to £48,020Typically, in this range injuries will start soft tissue damage and on to an injury which results in the amputation of the thumb.
ToeModerate to severeUp to £49,120Typically, in this range injuries will start tissue damage through to injuries which cause the complete amputation of all toes.
AnkleMinor to severeUp to £61,120Typically, in this range injuries will start bruising, strains and sprains, and then go through to complete loss of fucntion (complete).
FootMinor to very severeUp to £96,120Typically, in this range injuries will start soft tissue injuries and go on through to loss of the foot by amputation.
LegMinor to severeUp to £119,220Typically, in this range injuries will start soft tissue damage through to injuries which are so serious they cause a permenant disability.

Each injury is rated from minor through to severe.  To be awarded the correct level of compensation, your lawyer will need to provide evidence from medical experts or medical records in regards to your injury.

This isn’t the full table.  There are too many different injuries to list here.  If your injury isn’t listed, speak with a personal injury solicitor.  They’ll assess your claim and be able to provide a more accurate estimate of how much your injuries will be awarded.

Additional Forms Of Damages You Could Claim

When you make a public accident claim, you might not be aware that the claim is made up of multiple elements.  The table above shows the compensation that is awarded for just one part of a claim.  There are many more that could be used.  Claims made following a road accident could include:

  • General Damages: This is the compensation that is paid out to cover pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused to the claimant by their injuries.
  • Medical Costs: You might not expect to be able to claim for medical expenses as the NHS is free. However, the costs of prescriptions, over the counter medicine and other therapy can be expensive.  You may be able to claim these costs back.
  • Travel Costs: If you have to make alternative travel arrangements because of your injuries, you may be able to claim any costs back. The same is true for trips to the doctor, hospital and other trips that you had to make because of the accident.
  • Care Costs: It’s possible, in some cases, that you’ll need professional care following an accident. You may be able to claim the cost of care back as part of your claim.
  • Damaged Property: You could also possibly claim back the cost of any item damaged in your accident. This might be damaged jewellery, torn clothes or a broken phone.  The claim could be for replacing or repairing the damaged item.
  • Loss of earnings: If you lose any salary because of your injury, the loss could be included in your claim. If you require time off to recover, or for medical appointments, and your employer doesn’t pay full sick pay, you could include the lost earnings in your claim.

Special Damages

The financial parts of claim listed above are known as special damages.  The idea here is to put you back in the same financial position as you were prior to the accident.  You should try and keep all receipts for any expenses.  If you’re in any doubt whether you can claim back the cost, speak to a lawyer before committing to the expense.

When you discuss your personal injury claim with your lawyer, it’s important to give them as much information as possible. You can only make one claim.  Once it’s been settled, you can’t go back and ask for anything you’ve forgotten to claim for.  Therefore, before contacting a lawyer, try to collate as much of the evidence above.  This will help you provide enough information to your solicitor.

Council Responsibility For Pavements

The condition of pavements in public areas can be the responsibility of the local authority such as the council. This means it is their duty to conduct regular inspections for damage, disrepair and/or other hazards that could lead to injury.

Pavement accident claims can occur if you’re injured due to hazardous pavements that cause you to trip and fall.  In some cases, a hazard (such as a loose paving stone) may be reported to the council and they do not take action to rectify it either swiftly enough, or at all. If this is the case, the council could be said to have breached the duty of care they own to those travelling on their pavements and walkways.

However, a breach of a duty of care is not enough to make a claim in and of itself. This breach must also have caused you to be injured too. If you’re still unsure as to when you can make pavement accident claims, then get in touch today.

Our expert advisors are always available and willing to assist you with any questions you may have. Speaking with us directly is the best way to receive advice relevant to your unique circumstances

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Pavement Defect Accidents And Injuries

For a pavement accident (and injury) to be successful, the defect which caused it must be at least 1 inch in height or depth.   There may be occasions where a smaller defect could be considered for a claim so always best to double check. In general, though, 1 inch is the minimum requirement to for a lawyer to take your claim on.

The types of pavement defects which could cause accidents may include:

  • Potholes.
  • Tree roots that have broken through the surface of the path.
  • Raised paving slabs (due to a break or subsidence).
  • Missing, damaged or wobbly kerbstones.
  • Obstructions of the pavement.

In the last case, the company who are obstructing the pavement if doing so in a negligent way may be liable for any injuries rather than the local authority.

For a claim to be successful, you must’ve suffered an injury following an accident caused by a pavement defect that meets standard criteria.  You couldn’t, for instance, claim just because you tripped over.  There must be evidence of an injury.  This could either be from medical records or photographs of your injuries with the former being more relevant.

It is vital to contact a personal injury solicitor following such an accident so they can advise what necessary steps need to be taken, such as photographing the scene and taking the required measurements. Seeking legal advice from a no win no fee solicitor is a good idea as they’ll usually have the experience and knowledge of what evidence is required when making a public pavement and road defect accident claim.

Road Defect Accidents And Injuries

If you’re injured while driving or riding a bike or motorcycle because of an accident caused by some form of road defect, you might be entitled to compensation.  Defects on the road which might cause an accident include:

  • Potholes (a common cause of damage).
  • Obscured road signs.
  • Poor, damaged or insufficient lighting. This can make hazards difficult to see and cause an accident to happen.
  • Fuel spills.
  • Worn road surfaces which either cause accidents or damage to your vehicle.
  • Poor/blocked drainage which means there is excessive water. This could either obscure a pothole or lead to skidding.

In any of these cases, you may have a valid compensation claim if they caused you to become injured.  You should claim as soon as possible and make use of no win no fee agreements offered by many solicitors.

Local Authorities Duty Of Care To Maintain Pavements

The Highways Act 1980 puts a legal responsibility on local authorities (usually the local council), to inspect, maintain and repair pavements in their area.  Although it’s impossible to have completely smooth pavements everywhere, the council should ensure that the paths and pavements are safe to use.

The level of inspections will depend on the amount of foot traffic that uses a path.  Therefore, a pavement in a busy town centre will be inspected more frequently than a path along an undisclosed rural road.  

Highways Authority Duty Of Care To Maintain Roads

In a similar way to pavement inspections, roads operated by local authorities have to be inspected regularly.  A council should have a policy which details how often a road will be inspected.  The maintenance of roads is governed by the Highways Act 1980.

There are different types of checks that the council will make.  Firstly, a walked inspection should occur.  This means an inspector should physically walk along the road and record any defects.  Another check is a slow-driven inspection where the inspector drives the route of the inspection.  They should stop to inspect any obvious defects and record them.

Different road types will have a schedule of inspection which includes a set number of walked inspections and a number of driven inspections.

Once a defect has been identified, it should be repaired within a set time period.  For busy roads with a serious defect, this might mean a repair is required more quickly.

How To Report Accidents Caused By Defects In The Road Or Pavement To A Council

If you want to report a road problem or an accident to the local council, you should write what happened in a letter to them.  This doesn’t mean you’re starting a claim, but you are informing them of the accident.  This will make them aware of the accident and create a record at their end.

When you begin a claim, your lawyer can refer to your letter and show that the council were made aware of what happened.  Claims for any injuries will be defended by the council or their insurer. Council compensation payouts will only happen if it can be proven that they’ve been negligent by not performing their statutory duties.

Obtaining the help of a personal injury lawyer could improve the chances of gaining compensation.  You will no doubt find that the council will use their own solicitor to defend themselves.  An experienced personal injury solicitor should be able to counter any arguments against your claim.  They’ll also be fully trained in the legislation that your claim will be made under.

What Should I Do If Injured Because Of A Defective Pavement Or Road?

Following an accident on pavement, path or road, there are a number of things you could do.  Some of these are time critical if you’re considering a compensation claim.  The steps you could take following an accident include:

  • Photograph the scene of the accident. Doing this as soon as possible will mean the defect in the road or pavement will still be there.   This is evidence that can be used to show the council the defect did exist at the time.  It is very important to use a ruler or other measuring device to highlight the size of the defect especially the height or depth.
  • Seek medical treatment. Having your injuries assessed will mean you’ll get the necessary treatment quickly.  It will also mean there are medical records available to prove the severity of your injuries.  Obtain copies of these records if possible.
  • Ask any witnesses to prepare a statement. Anybody who saw your accident happen could provide evidence by writing a statement.  Ask them to include their contact details too, just in case they need to be contacted later on.
  • Photograph any visible injuries. If you capture any obvious injuries on camera, the photographs can be used in conjunction with the medical records.
  • Keep any receipts from repairs to your vehicle or bicycle. Also, photograph any obvious damage while at the scene of the accident.
  • If your accident happened in an area where CCTV was in operation, try to obtain a copy. Also, if there’s any dashcam footage, in the case of a road traffic accident, keep a copy.
  • Contact a personal injury solicitor.

Financial Losses

If you suffer any financial losses because of your accident, obtain receipts.  Explain to your lawyer why you incurred the cost and how it was linked to your accident.

Similarly, before you contact a lawyer, write down everything you remember happening.  This will mean that you’ll provide accurate information and your solicitor will gain all of the information they need to prepare the claim.

No Win No Fee Road And Public Pavement Accident Claims

Some people don’t make compensation claims because they think they can’t afford to, or they’re worried about how much it will cost.  This is why many solicitors offer a no win no fee service.

If you’re not sure how No Win No Fee services work, please see below;

  • No Win No Fee Services

    These are actually known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs). A CFA will state explicitly that, if you don’t win any compensation, you don’t have to pay your solicitor for their services.  It will also state, that if the case is won, you will pay a success fee from your compensation.The success fee is limited to 25% of any compensation awarded (and could be less).  The good thing is that you don’t have to pay the fee from your own funds.  It is deducted from any compensation before it is sent on to you.

How You Could Begin A Public Pavement And Road Defect Accident Claim

The first step to take when making a personal injury claim is an initial consultation with a personal injury solicitor.  These are usually free and you’re under no obligation to proceed.  They are useful for you to get to know the company you might end up working with.

In the consultation, you’ll be asked how the accident happened, what injuries you incurred and any evidence you have to help your claim.  The lawyer will assess your claim and decide whether you have a good claim or not.  If you do, they may offer you a no win no fee agreement.  When you’re happy and you’ve signed the agreement, the case will begin.

We recommend that when you’re ready, you contact our sponsored Pro Lawyers Today.  They’re contactable on 0800 408 7825 or you can visit their website by following the link in the references section.

References Materials And Guides

Hopefully, now you’ve read this guide about public pavement and road defect accident claims, you are at the stage when you are aware that you may or may not be eligible to start a claim.  For further guidance, we’ve included some more useful guides below:

Pro Lawyers – Our sponsors who can help you begin a personal injury claim following a road accident or pavement injury