Ankle fractured in pothole trip was due to council negligence

Dated:   

Simpson Millar has won damages of £4,318.50 on behalf of a man whose ankle was fractured after he fell on a pothole.

Pothole in the road

Our client, who was 17 at the time of the incident in August 2010, was walking along a Sunderland street close to his home when he tripped over a pothole in the pavement.

He fell and landed heavily on his right side, sustaining a fractured right ankle. Although he sought medical attention at his local health centre, he was referred to Sunderland General Hospital, where his fractured ankle was put in a plaster cast. He also sustained ligament, soft tissue and muscular damage.

As for the pothole, its presence appeared to have gone unnoticed by the local council. It had not been fenced off to protect pedestrians, and there were no notices or safety devices to warn the unwary.

So we wrote to Sunderland City Council in its capacity as local highways authority, alleging breaches of the Highways Act 1980. The authority had failed to repair and maintain the pavement, allowing a foreseeable hazard to put pedestrians at risk. As such, the council was in breach of its statutory duty and was negligent in failing to prevent our client's accident.

Following the defendant's own investigation into the incident, the council admitted liability. However, while it made an initial offer of £4,030, the council asserted 30% contributory negligence on the part of our client, on the basis that he should have known of the defective pavement since it was located close to his home.

We were finally able to negotiate a higher settlement figure of £4,318.50.


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