I tripped on a pothole as I was crossing the street and strained my thumb when I tried to break my fall. I did not get the contact details of anybody who saw my accident and wonder if it is still possible to claim pothole injury compensation.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

I tripped on a pothole as I was crossing the street and strained my thumb when I tried to break my fall. I did not get the contact details of anybody who saw my accident and wonder if it is still possible to claim pothole injury compensation.

Answer:

It is not always necessary to have eye-witnesses to support claims for pothole injury compensation if other forms of evidence can be provided – such as photographs of the pothole over which you tripped which identify the pothole as a hazard and medical records which confirm your injury at the time you claim you sustained your pothole injury.

It may also be possible to access shop security video or roadside CCTV images which can confirm the cause of your injuries and support a pothole injury claim for compensation – or at least imply that on the “balance of probabilities” you sustained an injury due to a breach in the duty of care owed to you by the local road authority to provide you with safe streets to walk on.

Security video and CCTV will also be able to prove that the pothole had been present for a period of time beyond would be considered “reasonable”. A road authority does not have an “absolute” duty of care to keep the streets free of potholes and, if one suddenly developed which the authority had insufficient time to attend to, they would contest that they were not liable in a pothole injury claim for compensation.

Depending on the circumstances that lead to you tripping on a pothole in the street, the road authority may allege that you were partly responsible for your own injuries if, for example, you ran across the street in a gap between traffic when there was a controlled pedestrian crossing in close proximity. Although this may not disqualify you from making a claim for pothole injury compensation, it could affect how much compensation for a pothole injury you receive.

It would be in your best interests to speak with a solicitor about your pothole injury compensation claim. You would be able to advise the solicitor of the location of your accident so that the solicitor could check for the presence of security cameras, tell the solicitor if you are aware of the hazard in the street being present for an unreasonable period of time and inform him or her as to whether there was a controlled pedestrian crossing in the vicinity so that the solicitor can prepare against claims of contributory negligence.

As it would benefit your claim for pothole injury compensation if photographs and CCTV footage were assembled immediately, it is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor at the earliest practical opportunity.