Road works payout for Padstow man


A 32-year old bindery assistant from Padstow has been awarded £9,677 compensation after an accident left him with a broken wrist. The incident occurred in November 2011 when Christopher Jones tripped and fell on railings lying across his path on a pedestrian walkway in Old School Hill.

Accident Report

“I was walking home at around midnight, passing a road where work was being done to the gas mains. A section of the temporary steel railings had collapsed onto the ground, and that’s how I tripped. There was no sign anywhere to alert me, and one of the street lights wasn’t working so it was hard to see,” says Christopher. “The minute I fell over I realised I’d done some serious damage to my right hand wrist but as it was a Saturday night I knew A&E would be busy, so I delayed going to hospital until the following morning.”

Staff at Treliske Hospital, Truro confirmed he had broken his wrist but were unable to treat it for several days until the swelling had gone down. Eventually they operated on the injury so that Christopher’s wrist could be manipulated back into place. It took six weeks before he was able to return to work.

"The run up to Christmas was just about the worst time to be out of action. I was in quite a bit of discomfort and very short of money because I didn’t get any sick pay,” says Christopher. “I seem to be rather accident prone and had already used up my sick leave entitlement recovering from an accident on my push bike. But this time it really wasn’t my fault. I was absolutely certain of that but went back to the scene just in case and took pictures of the obstruction."

National Law firm Simpson Millar LLP took up the case against Wales And West Utilities Ltd – the company undertaking the mains work. Litigation executive Alison Mills successfully argued that the company had assumed the responsibility of the local authority whilst carrying out the works. As such, they had a duty of care to prevent public nuisance under section 130 of the Highways Act 1980.

“There is a duty to protect the rights of the public when they use the country’s roads and highway,” says Alison. “Christopher’s injury happened because the erected railings were not securely in situ and, when they toppled over, they become a serious hazard. Wales and West Utilities had also failed to provide adequate lighting so that the railings could be clearly seen by passing pedestrians.”

Christopher, who still needs to wear a wrist support from time to time, was initially offered less than £3,500.

“Christopher’s bindery job involves a lot of lifting and general moving about, and his injury has clearly weakened his wrist. The original offer barely covered loss of earnings and we both felt it wasn’t enough. It took some time and effort but I felt strongly that Wales and West Utilities should increase their offer to reflect the seriousness of the injury, and finally they did,” says Alison.

Thanks to Alison’s help the £9,677 compensation awarded in the final settlement was more than double the original offer.

Christopher says. “Alison kept me informed throughout the two years it took to settle my claim and I was very happy with the service I received from Simpson Millar LLP. I would highly recommend them.”

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