Mike Massen of Cohen Cramer Solicitors appears on BBC Radio Leeds to discuss public liability claims 8th June 2015
If you have had a tripping accident it is very important that you take photographs of the accident site as soon as possible so that the photographs can be used as a means of identifying the defect that caused you to fall.
You will need to take photographs showing not only the accident site but also take some long view photographs so that the defect can be located with reference to house numbers, street furniture etc. The more images the better as this will help us to put forward a stronger case on your behalf.
The depth of defect required to be regarded as a hazard is not set in stone and each case turns on its own merit, that said the defect needs to be sufficient so as to present a hazard to the public in general or at the very least to the specific area and demographic e.g. a raised pavement will present a greater hazard if outside a residential facility for the elderly.
It is best if you use a rule to measure the defect, make sure that the measurement is visible in the image.
If the defect is a pothole or similar then take the measurement from a few places to get an overall assessment of the depth of the defect.
If you have someone with you then it would help if you took photographs of you re-enacting the accident, as far as is possible, so as to show direction of travel, point of contact with defect etc.
In summary the more information you can get the better.
It is likely that the Council’s lawyers will raise what is known as a S58 defence (S58 Highway’s Act). All roads need to be inspected at least once a year depending on their location. A busy main shopping thoroughfare may be examined every 3 months whereas a country lane may only be inspected once every 12 months.
If the other side can show, by way of inspection report, that their last inspection was before your accident but within the inspection period they will state that the defect arose since their inspection and before your accident and as they didn’t know about the defect they cannot be responsible for your injuries.
For this reason it is worth getting details of any houses, shops etc that may be near to the defect so that your solicitor can make enquiries as to how long the defect had been present. Such evidence can rebut the inspection regime and be vital to the success of your claim.
Such claims are not easy and you need expertise and experience on your side. Cohen Cramer Solicitors can provide the advice and help that you need and do so on a no win-no fee basis.
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