£8,500 council compensation for GMB man who stumbled on pothole


A GMB member who injured his ankle when he stumbled on a pothole has been awarded £8,500 compensation against Brighton and Hove City Council.


On 26 April 2010, as he pushed a road sweeping barrow from the yard where he worked on Upper Hollingdean Road, the street cleaning operative stumbled on a pothole, injuring his ankle.

A medical report subsequently revealed that the worker suffered an inversion injury to his ankle and ligament damage, a condition attended by ongoing continuous symptoms. The accident also forced the man to take time off work.

This was not the first time a pothole in the vicinity had caused injury; after the GMB union instructed Simpson Millar to act on behalf of the man, who had merely been walking towards the yard's entry/exit barrier, we discovered that another council employee had suffered a similar accident in 2007.

Citing a number of breaches of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, we alleged that the council was responsible for the injury in that it failed to maintain the yard in a reasonable state of repair, provided no warning of the pothole, failed to ensure that the victim was reasonably safe while lawfully on its premises and neglected to ensure the surface of the yard was suitable for its purpose.

The council duly admitted liability. However, it claimed that our client had contributed to his injury: allegations of contributory negligence which were not accepted, leading to the issue of proceedings.

The defendant eventually accepted full responsibility for the injury and a settlement was negotiated for £8,500.

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