We regularly deal with many claims for people who are injured after they have fallen over due to defective pavements, walkways, car parks, roads and other outdoor surfaces which can often result in serious injuries. These cases are difficult to win, so having the right evidence is vital.
When they occur on land owned and maintained by Local Authorities. This is because Local Councils inspect all their roads and pavements regularly and generally use a defence to claims contained in section 58 of the Highways Act 1980. If they have inspected the road/footpath and the defect causing the injury was not seen on the last inspection, then they have discharged their liability towards pedestrians and if they have not been notified of the defect that caused the injury since the inspection, they have a strong defence to any claim.
To assist in proving and winning claims such as these, we need to provide evidence as soon as possible after the accident. For example:
- Clear photographs showing the location of the defect – with recognisable buildings or other features in the background
- Clear close up photos of the defect, if possible with a ruler or a standard object (such as a 50p piece) in the photo to show the depth, width and length of the defect.
- A written record of measurements of the defect (again, depth, width and length) stating who carried out the measurements and on what date.
- A note of several nearby addresses including houses, business addresses and other properties so we will be able to contact people who live or work there so they will tell us how long the defect had been dangerous prior to the accident.
- If possible the name and contact details of any witnesses who saw them fall down.
If all the above information is available, clients have as good a chance as possible of winning their claims. Councils often miss defects on inspections, particularly if the inspection is carried out from a moving vehicle.
To assist you and your friends or relatives following such an accident, our Documenting Street Defects leaflet acts as a guide.