In order to make a successful claim for your accident, there are certain things we have to establish.
If you have tripped over something sticking up, or have fallen or ridden into a hole in the road/pavement surface
Firstly, we must show that the defect is bad enough to be considered a clear hazard to people using the area. The guideline marker for defects on the pavement is that the trip must be 1 inch either sticking up, or deep into the pavement. However, this may not necessarily apply to cyclists or motorcyclists who have had an accident due to a bad road surface, as different criteria apply in those cases - it may be the general condition of the road that is important.
That part of the claim is usually the least difficult to deal with, because it will be fairly clear in most cases whether the surface is dangerous. However, it is important that we get some photographs of the defect before you report it! Once the council (or other body responsible for the area) becomes aware that there has been an accident, they will normally be very quick to carry out repairs! If you are able to, please obtain photographs, preferably using some sort of measure against which to compare the size - e.g. a rigid ruler, or some other identifiable object.
The second thing we must show is that either the local authority with responsibility for the road either knew of the defect and did not repair it; or that they did not carry out regular inspections of the road (which should normally be done at a minimum of 6 monthly intervals).
This latter point is the difficult one. Local authorities rarely co-operate in these claims, and often the only way to find out whether they have inspected is to issue proceedings through the court. We can then force them to show us their inspection records.
If you have slipped or tripped or collided on or with something left on the pavement or highway
These claims may be more difficult to prove. If the item was left by someone unknown, unless the council were made aware before your accident, then you will have difficulty in claiming.
However, if the council were aware and did nothing about it, then you may have a successful claim.
You should also be able to claim if we can identify who was responsible: the most common type of claim is where work has been carried out and the contractors have failed to clean up properly, or have left materials.
If you have slipped or tripped in a store or other premises
An occupier of premises is under a duty to ensure that visitors are reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes you are visiting for.
Whether or not the owners or occupiers of the premises will be held to be at fault for your accident will depend largely on whether they had regular checks in place to ensure spillages were cleared quickly, and if they did, whether they acted quickly enough once they were advised of the spillage. Sometimes this latter point is difficult to establish if we cannot show when the spillage happened.
The most important thing that we need to advise you of with these claims is that they can take some time to settle - on average 12 to 18 months - due to most local authorities’ or contractor’s delays. However, you have our assurance that any delays will be due to factors outside our control and that we will deal with your claim as quickly as possible.
Whichever type of claim yours is, we will need as much information as possible about the surrounding circumstances - how long the defect had been there; if anyone else had reported it; whether you already knew it was there etc.