Q: Shortly before Christmas I went to a local pub for a meal with some friends. During the evening I popped outside to make a phone call. As I was returning after making the call I tripped on the raised lip of a cracked paving slab. I put my hands out to stop the fall but unfortunately in the process I broke my right wrist. As I drive for a living it has meant I have not been able to work. Is there any action can I take to get some compensation?
A: Firstly you will need to establish who is responsible for the land where the paving slab is located. If the paving slab was on a public pavement the local council would be responsible, but if the paving slab was on the pub’s property then the pub would be responsible.
Having established on whose land the paving slab is located, the next step would be to ascertain whether the paving slab should have been repaired. The owner, whether it is the pub or the local council, has a responsibility to regularly inspect all surfaces which are accessible by the public and to ensure that no serious risk of injury is posed by any defects that exist. However, the courts do not expect pavements or paved areas to be perfectly smooth. Good photographs and, if possible, measurements of the slab and the surrounding area will be useful in establishing whether the defect is significant enough for either the pub or the local council to be held liable for your accident.
As you work and have had to take time off work as a result of the injury, any loss of earnings would be part of any claim made against the pub or the local authority for compensation for your injuries.