Leisurely Walk Leads to Injuries


A Sheffield man has been awarded compensation following a fall in July 2010 due to a faulty drain cover. He sustained injuries which added to problems he already had.

Drain Cover

Accompanied by his nephew the man, 50, was carrying a basket of pigeons along a pathway close to some allotments when he stepped on a drain cover. The cover suddenly gave way and he was pitched 5 feet into the hole.

He sustained an injury to his back, with pain and bruising to his right forearm, the rest if his arm and his right upper thigh.

Returning home, the pedestrian self-medicated with an analgesic then later visited his GP, who diagnosed soft tissue injuries and prescribed further pain relief.

Social and Domestic Life Affected

Already suffering certain psychological and depressive episodes, his new injuries were severe enough to curtail his ability to enjoy social and domestic activities. Finding he could not cope with or enjoy life to the same extent as he did prior to the accident, his symptoms prevailed for some 9 months.


On the man's instruction we wrote to Sheffield City Council, the local authority responsible for the upkeep of the drain cover. We asserted that the council had allowed the path to fall into a dangerous condition by way of the defective cover, which represented an obvious hazard.

Incorrectly Replaced?

However, there was no admission of this by the council.

Despite our client sustaining both physical and psychological trauma as a result of the accident, liability was disputed by the defendant throughout.

Following separate examinations and subsequent reports by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and a psychologist, proceedings were issued against the council. However, compensation was finally agreed ahead of the trial window.

Ruth Magee, Associate Solicitor at Simpson Millar LLP based in the Manchester office commented:

"I was pleased we managed to obtain a settlement for Mr Hague in this case as liability was very much in dispute for his accident. The duty of care owed by the Council in this case was under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 and not the Highways Act 1980 (as the area where our Client fell did not form part of the adopted highway but they did own the land in question) and this impacted on the overall duty of care they had to our Client".

Happy to Recommend Simpson Millar LLP

"Just persevere," our client said, learning of his £2,500 settlement and confident the case will raise awareness for other unfortunates. "Carry on pursuing your cause, for help is out there."

Top tips to take away:

  • Take extra care when walking near pavement fittings – especially manhole covers
  • If a utilities cover is faulty and causes you injury, the local council is probably liable

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