Large Pothole in Neglected Alleyway Causes Client to Lose Footing and Sustain Injury
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Pothole Injury Claim

Settlement: £6,300

Our client was walking in an alleyway at the back of his house when he lost his footing and hurt his ankle due to a pothole. The area in question was in a state of disrepair, and at its highest point, the defect measured 3 inches deep.

What Happened?

Following the accident, our client went to the local walk-in centre and was told to elevate his ankle and take painkillers. He returned to the walk-in centre the next day and had an x-ray to the ankle and a plaster cast applied. He had suffered a fracture within the ankle and strain of the supporting ankle.

After removal of the cast, our client underwent physiotherapy; however, this did not fully resolve his ankle symptoms. Surgery was recommended by the NHS however our client did not wish to undergo surgery due to the impact this may have with his work; he already had two weeks off work due to the injury.

Liability

We argued with the Council that they have a duty under the Highways Act to inspect and maintain the highway and any inspections of the area before our client’s accident must have been inadequate. We also argued that the area was in a state of disrepair.

How We Helped

The insurance company for the Council denied liability. They argued that the alleyway had a low footfall of pedestrians using it; therefore one inspection each year was sufficient. They stated that when an inspection was carried out 8 months before our client’s accident, the area was not in a state of disrepair.

We found that this was hard to believe given the extent of the defect which was very deep and also covered a wide area. Our client also said that the area had been in a state of disrepair for some time. We therefore issued Court proceedings.

Outcome

The case proceeded to trial and the Barrister for the Council argued that the inspections on an annual basis was sufficient and that the Claimant could not say for sure where he fell on the defect so his case should fail. The Judge disagreed. The Judge found the area was in a poor condition and when looking at our client’s evidence including Google Street View Images, the defect could be seen emerging some 5 years before our client’s accident. The Judge found that the inspections the Council did before the accident were insufficient. The Judge held the Council responsible for the accident although found that as our client knew the defect was in the alleyway, 10% should be deducted from his damages meaning he should receive just over £6,300.

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