Mrs X was shopping with her son in a busy shopping area in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, when she tripped and fell over, injuring her ankle and knee.
When she looked to see what she had tripped on she noticed that several small pieces of block paving were missing from the pavement. She reported the incident to the local Council who repaired the defect, but not until one month later.
Mrs W contacted Advance Legal and we wrote to the local Council, alleging that it was in breach of its duty under S41 of the Highways Act to maintain the highway, and claiming compensation on behalf of Mrs X for her injuries.
The Council alleged that, although most of the pavement along which Mrs X had been walking when her accident occurred was their responsibility, the particular small area of pavement where she actually fell was, in fact, owned by another party and was not the responsibility of the Council. Therefore, they denied liability.
There was no physical demarcation of the separate ownership of that part of the pavement and the Council alleged that the highways inspector had ordered a repair in the mistaken belief that it was the responsibility of the council.
We then took steps to ascertain who actually did own that part of the pavement and who was responsible for its upkeep. We carried out a Land Registry search which showed that, unusually, the area was owned by Glasgow City Council who also owned the Octagon Shopping Centre adjacent to the area in question. Glasgow City Council had delegated the responsibility for maintaining that part of the pavement to a third party.
We approached the third party, who denied liability on the basis that they had a system of inspection and maintenance in place and a relationship with the local council for reporting defects to them. However, they had no documentation to prove this and the Council denied all knowledge of the relationship. The third party continued to deny liability.
We obtained a medical report on Mrs X’s injuries and issued court proceedings on her behalf. Shortly after service of the proceedings on the third party the claim was settled and Mrs X accepted an offer of £4,500 in compensation.
It is important that if you have an accident you take clear photographs of the defect which caused your injury, report your accident straightaway and fill out an accident form.