Postman fell on a public path – was his boss to blame, or the council?


A fall on a broken path and the injuries it caused have seen a Wilmslow postal worker win substantial compensation.

Red Royal Mail Post box

On 25 June 2011, the postman was delivering to a house on Caldy Road, Handforth, when he fell heavily on the badly-maintained thoroughfare.

The 64 year-old, who had worked for Royal Mail for 12 years, was clearly badly hurt, sustaining soft tissue injuries to his rib, left hand and knee and a broken finger on his right hand.

The worker instructed Simpson Millar LLP through his union, the CWU, to pursue a personal injury claim. But who was responsible? Clearly, his employer could have no influence over the state of a public road. We wrote to the local authority, Cheshire East Council.

Were the Council responsible?

We believed the Council were responsible on the basis that the postman was exposed to a foreseeable risk of injury as a result of the path's faulty condition. The Council had failed to ensure that the path was safe for lawful visitors, and had neglected to take action to maintain the path and warn visitors of the hazard.

Officially 14% disabled

According to Simpson Millar LLP's Lisa Sheldon, the postman has continued to suffer ongoing issues with stiffness in his finger joints.

"These have had a marked affect on his everyday life," Lisa said. "Our client was unable to attend work for around a year, and has since been advised that he is now classified as 14% disabled by the Industrial Injuries Disablement Department."

"We sought a substantial settlement"

After an initial examination, a medical consultant requested up-to-date x-rays in order to provide a clearer picture.

Lisa added: "Once we had arranged for the x-rays, the consultant determined that the only way to relieve our client's ongoing symptoms would be through surgery."

"After negotiating with the defendant we were able to reach a settlement figure which would include help towards the cost of any future procedures."

Praise for Simpson Millar LLP

On his compensation award of £12,678.50, the postman was keen to compliment Simpson Millar LLP for our help in delivering a good outcome.

"The service was first rate from start to finish. Any queries were dealt with promptly and Lisa's service was excellent throughout."

Prompt action recommended

Our client added: "I would advise all [CWU] members at the time of an accident, however slight, to report it immediately, and also take advantage of facilities afforded by the CWU."

Top tips to take away:

  • Defective roads and pavements are the responsibility of the local authority for that area
  • If you're hurt because of a poorly maintained thoroughfare, it's likely you'll be able to claim against the council for personal injury

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