Amputee wins £6,000 claim against council for defective kerb incident


As he got out of his car, an amputee already obliged to use elbow crutches was badly injured due to a defective kerb in Hemel Hempstead, Herts.

The incident occurred in Mark Road in March 2010. Alighting from his car outside a café, the victim used his crutches to steady himself. Swinging himself sideways so he could get out of the car, and intending to adopt a standing position, he inadvertently placed his foot on a crack between the 2 kerbs below.

Since one of the kerbs was 4 inches higher than the other, his foot was forced into an angle, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the pavement.

Unfortunately the accident had long-term consequences. He sustained neck pain which exacerbated a degenerative condition by 6 months, and accelerated injury to a condition of the sacroiliac joint in his pelvis by 3 years.

He also suffered shock, soft tissue damage and general discomfort.

Once we had secured photographic and witness evidence, we wrote to Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) raising concerns over its inspection procedures.

Despite being clearly visible, the defective kerb had not been picked up by council officers either before or after the accident.

In June 2011, HCC admitted liability for breaching its duty under the Highways Act 1980, having permitted the road to remain dangerous and failed to take adequate measures to ensure it did not stay in disrepair.

An original offer of compensation was made to our client for the sum of £2,385. This was later increased to £5,125, including physio costs of £375. After an MRI scan, the defendant settled at £6,000.

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