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Claims for Public Tumbles

Slips, trips and falls are very common in public places and can happen almost anywhere. 

If you have suffered an injury as a result of a slippery surface or defect on a floor surface, for example, it is very likely that you will be entitled to compensation. 

Therefore it is important to know the steps required to strengthen a claim and try and carry out as many as you can to ensure you will be compensated for your loss.

After a slip, trip or fall, you should immediately try and contact somebody nearby or even an ambulance if the injuries are severe. You should also take note of exactly where the accident happened. If you can, you should take photos of the area where you had the accident or ask somebody else to. This is for evidence, so it is good practice to take photos from different angles, showing surface defects or spillages with no warning signs, for example. We understand taking photos at the time may be inconvenient but any photos near the time of the accident will strengthen your claim. You should then try and take down contact names of any witnesses.

After the initial accident you should then be getting your injuries treated by your GP or at hospital. Every single symptom you should report, however minor it may seem. You should then notify the council of what caused the accident, which may be a pavement or road, for example. During your recovery period you should also try and record every symptom which may affect you physically or psychologically and try to keep any receipts proving any expenditure towards treating your injuries. The amount of compensation will be dependent on factors such as this.

An important part of making a claim is establishing who is liable for the maintenance of the area in which you had your accident, since your claim will made against them. If you suffered an accident on a public highway, for example, you will need to look into claiming against the council, whereas an injury in a shop will mean action against the business owner.

We appreciate remembering and carrying out these procedures may be difficult but the more effort you make, the stronger your claim will be and the more compensation you will receive.

What constitutes a defect on a highway?

A public highway consists of any route of transport you can walk across, such as a pavement, path or road. It is the local council's responsibility to maintain the highways and keep them safe, eliminating any hazards that may cause a member of public to trip or fall.

It is important to be aware of the types of defects on a public highway, especially when making your claim. One of the most common defects is a raised or cracked paving stone. This is what causes most trips and injuries and you should make a claim as they should remain in good condition. Another common defect are holes and trenches created by highway works and repairs. It is the council's responsibility to protect pedestrians against the hazards by creating barriers and warning signs.

When it snows, ice forms on the public highways, creating a real hazard where it is very easy to slip and injure yourself on the hard surface. The council are legally required to ensure safety by gritting the roads and paths preventing likely injury. The council also has the responsibility to clear up any spillages that may occur, which make the highway a hazard to walk on. The council's responsibilities also stretch to maintaining the roads, for example filling in potholes when they are created. Although these kinds of defects cause more damage to you whilst you are driving, you can still trip or fall while crossing the road. Another defect that can easily cause an accident is broken drainage grids or water board covers. Walking over one of these when damaged can easily make you trip over and injure yourself.

If you suffer any injuries as a result of any of these defects then should be entitled to make a claim for compensation. The amount rewarded will depend on the severity of your case and carelessness by the council.

Claiming against the council

Making a claim against the council responsible for your slip, trip or fall can be a difficult process, as councils have legal defences against compensation claims. So in order to make a successful compensation claim, you need to consider all of the aspects of the accident when compiling your evidence against them.

Considerations include the size of the defect, for example. The defects will vary in size and the bigger it is the stronger your claim will be. If the defect is only small such as a slight crack, you need to appreciate the defences of the court. You should also consider where the defect is and what type of pedestrian is likely to use the public highway. For example, if there is ice on a zebra crossing or on pavements outside schools people are likely to slip and injure themselves in commonly used areas.

You also have to consider whether the council actually caused the accident themselves by not completing an area of construction, for example. If they had previously worked on the area and left a hazard it is very likely the court will deem the council responsible even if the defect was minor. The court will also rule in your favour if people had previously complained about the defect and no action had been taken to solve the hazard.

Even if you feel you have hard evidence for your claim it is important to realise that the council has legal defence over your claim if they can prove that they had a satisfactory system and record of inspection of their highways.

However their defence can be overcome if their records of inspection are inaccurate such as the size of the defect. Evidence via a witness can also overcome their defence if their accounts do not match up to the council’s inspection records.

Compensation for injuries sustained in retail outlets

Shop injury claims can include injuries suffered in a shop, supermarket or any retail unit. The shopkeeper has the responsibility to keep you safe while you are on their premises. You are entitled to make a claim if you suffer an injury due to a fault of the shopkeeper.

Common shop injury claims include supermarket accidents due to a spillage. If you slipped on a spillage that had not been appropriately cleaned or no warning signs were provided, it is likely you will be awarded compensation. It is also common to slip on an area of the floor that had just been mopped or cleaned. Again, if there are no warning signs the shop keeper is responsible for any possible accidents.

The shop keeper is also responsible for any shelf items that may fall on a customer causing an injury. This is also the case if an item falls on the floor and a customer trips on it. If a customer is injured due to a defect on the floor surface the same applies if it results in an injury. You can also make a shop injury claim if you suffer an injury due to an accident in the car park. If the accident was caused due to the surface the owner may also be responsible and you are entitled to make a claim.

If you are an employee in a shop and have suffered an injury which was your employer’s fault due to a defective system at work or improper training for example you will also be entitled to make a claim.

When you have an accident you should still try and go through the standard process to strengthen your claim in the future. The process includes:

  • Notify somebody of your injuries and ensure it is recorded in an accident record book
  • See a doctor or go to hospital
  • Take contact details of any witnesses
  • Keep a record of your symptoms and expenditures

Typical sums awarded for slips, trips and falls

Your solicitor can give you advice on the likely amount of compensation you will receive. They will rely on their experience and relate to your specific case to give you an accurate estimation. A slip, trip or fall can cause injuries all over the body and can affect people of any age. Injuries can range from bumps and bruises to dislocations and fractures. The elderly tend to suffer more from slip trips and falls as they have slower reaction times and struggle to protect themselves from the impact of the ground. They also have more fragile bones and muscles which mean they are more likely to suffer long term injuries.

Compensation depends on the type of injury:

Facial injuries

Cheekbone fracture: £1,500 - £2,000 (simple fracture with short recovery)

Up to £10,000 (serious fracture with long recovery)

Jaw fracture: £4,000 - £5,500 (simple fracture with short recovery)

Up to £29,000 (serious fracture with long recovery)

Teeth Damage

Loss/damage to one of your front teeth: Up to £2,500

Loss/damage to more than one of your front teeth: Up to £7,300

Arm and Shoulder Injuries

Wrist fracture: £2,000 - £3,000 (simple fracture with short recovery)

Up to £35,000 (serious fracture with long recovery)

Forearm fracture: Up to £4,000 (simple fracture with short recovery)

£12,500 - £25,000 (serious fracture with long recovery)

Shoulder Injuries: Bruising and pain in the joint: £2,800 - £5,000

Severe pain and permanent damage: Up to £31,000

These are typical rewards for common injuries. If you have any other queries or concerns to the amount of compensation it is recommended you seek the advice of a solicitor.