Q&A - Can Mum claim against the council after tripping on a broken paving slab?

Q: Rushing for the bus a few weeks ago, my mum tripped on a raised paving slab that had partially dislodged. She ended up with a broken wrist that needed pinning and hurt her back. As a result, she has not been able to work and as she is on a zero hours’ contract which means she does not get paid. Can she claim compensation from the local authority?

A: Claiming from the local authority for injuries sustained from a slip or trip on a pavement is not as easy as many national claims management companies make out in their advertising. For example, there are specific measurements relating to the purported defect that must be proven, as well as proving that the hazard was due to the local authority failing to inspect and maintain the pavement or other offending surface for which they had responsibility.

The law says that those with responsibility for highways and pavements must be allowed adequate time to inspect, identify and repair hazardous defects to reduce the risk of injury to the public. So, your mother would firstly need photographic evidence to identify the offending slab, together with measurements to show the height of the raised slab. If the defect is 1 inch or more, this can be considered an “actionable defect” and she has the makings of a claim.

She should consult a local personal injury solicitor, who would investigate the council’s inspection and repair records for that area. The solicitor would need to identify the regularity of inspections for that given area. Providing that your Mum’s claim was successful, she would be compensated for her pain, suffering and loss of amenity, any loss of earnings and other consequential losses.

Article 15/03/2021

This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal.

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Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry