One of the most common types of claim that our clients try to bring involves a slip or trip over uneven or broken paving stones/pavement on the public highway. However just because there has been a slip or trip on uneven or broken paving stones/pavement does not necessarily mean that there is a claim.
Usually in such cases it is the local highways authority that is the potential Defendant and hence for most cases in the South Holland area this will be the Lincolnshire County Council.
To establish liability on the part of the highways authority the Claimant must prove the following:-
(i) That the paving stone/pavement was “dangerous” to pedestrians;
(ii) That the dangerous position was created by the failure to maintain or repair the paving stone/pavement; and
(iii) That injury or damage resulted.
The test of dangerousness is one “of reasonable foresight of harm” to pedestrians, and each case will turn upon its own facts.
Evidence of Dangerousness
As a very general starting point, a slip or trip hazard of one inch or more is more often than not held to be “dangerous”. However more recently the Courts have used a less formulaic approach. Courts will also take into account the highways authority’s policy in respect of defects. For example the Lincolnshire County Council policy suggests that hazards of more than 25mm are dangerous.
The highways authority will have a defence to a claim if it can prove that it took such action as was reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the particular section of paving stone/pavement was safe. In short if the highways authority has a reasonable inspection programme, and follows it then it is likely to successfully defend a claim. For example the Lincolnshire County Council has an inspection programme which states that “main shopping areas” should be inspected 12 times per year. This is also in fact in accordance with national guidance, and therefore if the Lincolnshire County Council is following this programme then it is likely to successfully defend a slip/trip claim relating to a “main shopping area”.
However quite often we find that a slip/trip hazard has been in situ for many months if not years, which suggests that the highways authority is not keeping to its own inspection programme. In such circumstances our clients are likely to succeed with a claim for personal injury resulting from the slip/trip.
Have you had a slip/trip within the last three years
If you have slipped or tripped on a public highway within the last three years and suffered an injury as a result, then you might have a claim. Please arrange to see Daven Naghen for a free interview so that he can assess the merits of your case. In such circumstances the first interview is free of charge to you.
If you want to speak to Daven about a potential claim then either ring Daven on 01775 722261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to or contact Grant at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.