Sefton Council successfully sued by Woodvale resident following path trip accident

By Pat Regan

A Woodvale resident, who does not currently wish to be named, recently litigated successfully against Sefton Council for an undisclosed four-figure amount. 

The Sandbrook Road gentleman had tripped and injured himself one night on an uneven paving flag several years ago in Ainsdale. This resulted in a course of prolonged medical treatment, etc.

Council’s inadequate ‘Section 58’ defence ruled out – by logic 

Initially, the Council Defendant had sought to rely upon a ‘Section 58’ defence. The Council erroneously claimed that the pathway in question had been “inspected” just days before the claimant fell. The Defendant even provided documentation to support their inconsistent position.

Sadly for them however the vigilant Claimant examined the Sefton Council documents, which included a council map, and discovered that the inspection area was not even in the same place where the accident had occurred.

Following supplementary Council denials the Claimant’s solicitor was duly preparing to take the matter to court when the Council finally caved in and issued a four-figure compensation cheque, without any admission of liability.

After the win the Woodvale Claimant stated:

“Clearly, Sefton Council will go to quite bizarre lengths to avoid dealing with issues as serious as this. The pathway in question was obviously unsafe for residents and was (still is) used by many people, included lots who are elderly. I believe that Sefton have sought to avoid their responsibility for this matter for years. The inspection map they provided foolishly displayed an area that was NOT the same place that I had tripped in. Did Sefton expect us to ‘not’ notice this? Furthermore, we had photographic evidence to show how bad the flag stones actually were. Consequently, I am delighted that justice was finally served”

Southport residents should be able to expect more from the individuals who are in place to maintain this Council.  Basic ‘trust’ should be obligatory and not something that they need constantly reminding about!


Tripping on a broken pavement usually causes little more than a grazed knee – for some though, it can result in broken bones or worse – here’s how to claim

Your step by step guide to claiming compensation for a pavement trip or fall

Part of Sefton council’s job is to keep public spaces safe and in good condition

Have you ever walked over broken or uneven paving slabs and thought “there’s an accident waiting to happen”?

Well, count yourself lucky as chances are, someone else won’t see it.

We tend to think of tripping on a loose or raised paving stone as something that happens to the elderly or frail – those who aren’t so steady on their feet.


Fortunately, tripping and falling on a broken or uneven pavement usually causes little more than a grazed knee and a bruised ego.

For some, it can result in broken bones, muscle damage and other serious injuries.

According to a recent study by Help the Aged, more than 2,300 older people trip and fall every day on broken pavements in the UK.

One of the main jobs of local councils is to keep public spaces in good repair, safe and fit for purpose.

So if you suffer an injury from their failure to do this, then you can make a compensation claim.


How to make a successful claim…

1. Check the details

The surface defect that caused the accident must be reasonably serious.

As a rule of thumb, the raised paving stone or pothole needs to measure a minimum of an inch to be considered for compensation. Smaller defects do cause accidents, but the law tends not to hold councils responsible.


2. You only have three years

Secondly, if you want to make a claim, you need to do so within 3 years of the accident.


3. Is it ‘reasonably serious’?

It must have caused a reasonably serious injury – a grazed knee that heals up after a week or two probably won’t get much sympathy from a judge.


4. Keep everything

It’s essential that you see a doctor immediately, that all your injuries are recorded, and that you get a certificate for any time you need off work.

Collect as much evidence of the accident as you can.

Take photographs of the scene – place a coin or box of matches next to the defect to show how big it is in comparison.

Make a note of the weather conditions, street lighting and so on – anything that might have contributed to your fall.

Try and get the names and contact details of any witnesses, and write a letter to your local council to report the accident, keeping a copy for your records.


Can you claim?

Your claim is not guaranteed to succeed, though, even if you have a serious fall and you do all these things.

Your claim can be rejected if the council can prove that they have a good system in place to inspect the pavement, and they have carried out these inspections on a regular basis.

An experienced lawyer knows how to challenge this kind of defence, and can greatly improve your chances of a successful claim.


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