I tripped on a street pavement, can I claim compensation?
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
Solicitors are often asked what the criteria is for making a claim for compensation for having tripped on a street pavement , but frequently the eligibility to claim injury compensation for tripping on a street pavement varies from claim to claim.
Examples of when it is possible to claim for having tripped on a street pavement include tripping and falling over a raised paving stone, an uneven street pavement, a loose paving stone or a pothole – but only when you have sustained a quantifiable injury due to the negligence of the party responsible for maintaining the pavements in a safe condition.
The local authority is most often responsible for inspecting the pavements, identifying hazards and making repairs and although the local authority should make repairs promptly, it is not reasonable to expect every problematic paving stone to be identified and repaired immediately. However, when repairs have not been made in a reasonable time frame, the local authority could be considered liable for your injuries due to a failure in its duty of care to pedestrians and a claim for street trip injury compensation under these circumstances should therefore be possible.
It is the responsibility of the claimant to prove that a local authority (or other party such as a utility company) has been negligent. While evidence of negligence does not always need to be provided when an application for assessment of your injuries is submitted to the Injuries Board, in the case of street pavement trip injury claims a local authority may not consent to an Injuries Board assessment if evidence of a hazard is not provided.
You should therefore take photographs of the hazard which caused you to trip on a street pavement. If you do not have a camera, a picture taken with a mobile phone camera may be sufficient, as long as the extent of the street pavement hazard can clearly be seen. Using an item of known size to indicate the depth of the hazard can also help in this regard. If your injuries prevent you from being able to return to the scene of the accident, you should try to get a friend or family member to do this for you.
Even if you tripped on a street pavement and the local authority can be proved to be negligent, you will not be able to claim compensation for a street pavement trip if your injuries have not been treated at a hospital or by a doctor. A trip and a fall on a street pavement must have caused an injury which was severe enough to seek professional medical attention. Your medical records must detail your injuries if you are to make a successful street pavement trip injury claim.
As no two claims for having tripped on a street pavement are likely to be identical, it would be in your best interests to discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury with a personal injury solicitor at the first practical opportunity.