Yes, you read that correctly. We’d advise not contacting the council straight away after you’ve fallen down on a public street and been injured. It might seem counterintuitive but there are a few good reasons why you should wait and contact legal advice instead.
Essentially it boils down to this: certain incident claims can be more difficult to prove than others. So we need to give you the best chance possible and collect as much evidence as we can. But to start, you’ll need to know that you can only claim compensation for injuries that aren’t your fault.
What can I claim compensation for?
Claiming public liability compensation off the council is common after a trip or fall in a public place due to the following:
- Damaged pothole
- Damaged or loose curb
- Damaged or sunk pavement, cobble, or slab
- Generally the poor standard of upkeep on outdoor flooring
Will my claim be successful?
While we can never 100% say for certain if a claim will be successful, we will only take on cases where the chance of winning is high and we are certain that it wasn’t your fault.
Things you need to prove in order to be successful in your claim:
- That the accident wasn’t your fault and that someone else was liable for the injury
- That the hazard that caused you to trip over has been there for over 6 months
- The hazard which caused the trip differs from the normal floor level by at least 1 inch
This means that the claimant (person injured) should show that the council was aware that the hazardous area which caused the accident was there.
Also, it helps to prove that the council had reasonable time to inspect the area beforehand and should have made the required repairs to the area to avoid any risk of accident to the public.
This will help the claimant prove that the council or landowner did not uphold their statutory duties and failed to make the required repairs in good time, leaving the hazardous area in a dangerous condition.
Gathering evidence is vital
In order to make a claim, having as much evidence as possible is super important. There are two key areas you need to consider:
Medical evidence: if you haven’t received any medical treatment, the accident probably won’t be considered serious enough to warrant a claim for compensation.
Hazardous area evidence: that the area in question has been in this state for at least 6 months. By speaking to local people who have knowledge of the streets and pavements, they will probably be familiar with any issues and hazards within the area
So why shouldn’t I contact the council myself?
Don’t contact the council yourself, ensuring you contact them in the proper way with all of the right information is vital for the best chance of a successful claim. Contacting them prematurely could result in them removing evidence before you’ve had a chance to take photographs and get your case in order first.