Q: I was walking along my local high street on a Monday lunchtime approximately 4 weeks ago to go and get something to eat during my lunch hour when I tripped and fell on a broken paving slab. When I fell to the ground I put out my hands in front of me to break my fall and in doing so I broke my right wrist. I am a secretary and have been unable to work for the last month. Do I have a case against the council? If I do have a case against the council can I reclaim any lost earnings?
A: Council's throughout the country have a duty to regularly inspect, maintain and repair local footpaths. It is for the council to show that they have a reasonable (and effective) inspection regime in place. If the council can not produce evidence that the area where you tripped was inspected regularly and that any defects were spotted and quickly repaired then you may have a case. The first step is to contact a local solicitor who will be able to advise you further on your case (and will likely want to see photographs and measurements of the defect - or obtain their own) and prepare a letter directed to the council giving brief details of your claim and also requesting copies of the relevant inspection records. Once your solicitor has a copy of the relevant inspection records they will be much better placed to advise you on the viability of your case.
If you were successful in pursuing a claim in personal injury against the council you would be able to include a claim for any earnings that you have lost as a direct result of the injury they caused.