The Personal Injury Blog

What to do if you are unlucky enough to have an accident this summer

As the warm weather continues and we are all enjoying spending time outdoors, and visiting new places, it is worth considering the risks you could be exposed to as you explore and what to do if you are unlucky enough to have an accident and suffer injuries.

Falls on Pavements

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 such as broken bones.

Claims such as these are known to be difficult to win, particularly when they occur on land owned and maintained by Local Authorities. This is because Local Authorities inspect all their roads and pavements regularly and generally use a defence to claims contained under section 58 of the Highways Act 1980. The basis of this act is that 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.

To assist in proving and winning claims such as these, we need to provide evidence as soon as possible after the accident for example:-

1.  Clear photographs showing the location of the defect – with recognisable buildings or other features in the background

2.  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.

3.  A written record of measurements of the defect (again, depth, width and length) stating who carried out the measurements and on what date.

4.  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

5.  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.

It is worth noting however that where a footpath crosses private land, the responsibility for the upkeep of these paths falls to the private landowner who may be responsible for a failure to repair.

Visiting commercial premises

Many of us choose days when the weather is nice as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family. As many of us do so, public places become crowded, busy and much more dangerous.

An owner of a property, such as a cinema, restaurant or shopping centre, has a duty to ensure that their premises are safe at all time for all visitors, no matter how busy they get. The owners must abide by the Occupiers Liability Act 1984.

We act in many people who have suffered injuries following accidents whilst visiting busy premises. Be sure to watch out for spillages, broken equipment or defects whilst out and about.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer such an accident, we must obtain as much evidence as possible therefore, it is very helpful to obtain

  1. Clear photographs of the defect/hazard/location & injuries.
  2. Details of any independent witnesses.
  3. Copies of Accident report forms.

If you require any advice or assistance, please do not hesitate to call us on 0114 218 4000 or email

Ellie Buckley

Eleanor is a Personal Injury Assistant in our Personal injury department. Eleanor is studying law via Cilex and is due to qualify as a Legal Executive in the summer of 2015. For more information on this topic email or call her on 0114 218 4233.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *