12 July 2013
Building sites can be dangerous places, as we have previously discussed here. Normally, the risks are to labours working on the site; however, sometimes building sites are immediately next to a highway, and members of the public can be at risk.
We were instructed to pursue a claim for personal injury by a pedestrian who was injured when walking along a well-used shortcut between two roads in Stourbridge. The building next to the path had recently been demolished and lots of debris had been left on the site, some of which had got onto the path. Some fences were placed around the site but these were inadequate and did not secure pedestrians from all of the risks of the site.
Our client was walking along the path in the early evening in February 2011. He was walking along the fence that had been put up around the building site when he fell into a hole three foot deep and three foot in diameter. Debris fell down onto our client while he was in the hole. Our client suffered various injuries to his back, ankle and cuts and bruises to his face.
Often the most difficult part of a claim is identifying the party who is responsible for the accident. The claim was initially directed against the local Council on the basis that they had failed to maintain the highway. Unfortunately, they denied that the accident location was a highway.
After investigating the matter further the owner of the building site was identified and the claim was directed against them. Initially then denied liability for the accident on the basis that they had no knowledge of the accident. We were able to prove that the accident did happen on their property and that they had failed to keep the building site safe. The defendant then promptly accepted liability. They also erected much more substantial barriers around the site and temporarily closed the path.
We obtained medical evidence on our client’s injuries and disclosed this to the defendant’s insurers together with details of his losses and expenses. The defendant’s insurer offered £3,500 to settle the claim; however, we were able to negotiate settlement in the total sum of £5,495.48.
At Advance Legal we have dealt with many accidents occurring on or near the highway where it is difficult to identify who is responsible. We are experienced in undertaking detailed investigations in order to find the right defendant and identifying the negligence of those in control of building sites.
For advice on pursuing a claim for compensation, please contact a member of our Personal Injury team.