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Pavement Related Accidents: A Common Problem?

An elderly man who suffered a serious fall on a pavement is still battling for compensation with his local council more than a year after the incident.

The 71 year old from South Shields in Newcastle-upon-Tyne suffered serious injuries and mental trauma from the fall. He was out walking his daughter’s dog when he tripped on a paving slab which had been uprooted by a tree and incorrectly laid.

Family members reported the victim as not being the same since the accident. They state his confidence for the outdoors has disappeared and his mobility significantly impaired. The injuries sustained include a cracked knee cap, which has led to arthritis, severe facial bruising and a scar left from an abrasion on his forehead.

Compensation solicitor involved

The couple have involved a compensation solicitor in an attempt to alert the council to the poor state of the counties pavements. They are also determined to receive an apology from the council for the trauma the family has suffered.

Though this may seem like a rare and unfortunate accident, falls caused by faulty pavements are actually very common. Each year councils in England pay out an average figure of well over £15 million as a result of these accidents.

The reason this figure is so high is that according to ‘The Highways Act 1980’ local councils have an obligation to ‘maintain the highway’. This obligation includes any footpaths on the roadside. If it can be proven that a council has been negligent in their inspection or maintenance of the pavement, and that this negligence was the cause of an accident, they can be held accountable.

Though there is still a considerable amount of trip and slip compensation paid out each year by local councils to compensate victims of pavement falls, due to tightened maintenance policies and better defence in the courtroom, these figures are gradually decreasing.

Let’s hope that means that there will be less horrible accidents like this one in South Shields.