Driveway tripping accident nets £70K settlement

At some point in time, you may have caught the edge of an out of place paving slab, or stumbled on an uneven path or drive way. Most of the time, the only damage is embarrassment. For a small number of people each year though, such an incident is far more damaging, especially if you take a tumble too.

If this does happen to you, what recourse do you have? Can you make a claim on somebody for any costs you incur as a result of a tripping accident – such as medical costs, loss of income, damage to property? 

tripping over a loose paving slabWe recently acted for a client, Mrs F.F, who had suffered a tripping accident. She was walking in a driveway to a building, tripped on loose paving and fell. In the process, she suffered a serious injury to her ankle. To make matters worse, the injury left our client with some unpleasant long term effects with eventually required surgical intervention.

The lady concerned approached Romain Coleman’s personal injury specialist lawyer, David Dolties, to understand how she might pursue this injury and attempt to get compensation for the pain and trouble she had gone through.

We made a case against the landlords of the property that owned the drive way our client was injured in. After fighting her case with the landlord’s insurers, we eventually achieved a settlement amount of £70,000 to help fund the surgery required.

Lessons to be learned on both sides

For the perspective of the injured party

If you suffer an accident like this, especially if medical treatment is likely, don’t just brush it off lightly. Think carefully about the circumstances first. What caused you to trip? Was it a hole in the ground, such as a pothole? Was it related to some maintenance activity going on at the time? What it a loose paving slab that should have been fixed?

Often those involved in such an accident, don’t realise the damage that has been done until much later on. This maybe because the injury caused a lot of pain that essentially masked the real damage. Adrenaline can do this too, and if you’re not careful, further damage could be done simply because your body’s adrenaline response is hiding the true extent of the injury and pain.  You often see this in car accidents involving whiplash and spinal damage. For a time immediately after an accident, your body is likely in shock. You are numb to the real extent of your injuries and at risk of making them worse by walking around or even just trying to get up.

Four things to consider:

  1. The first thing to consider if you have had a tripping accident, is whether it is wise or not to get back on your feet. If in doubt, don’t, and call for help.
  2. The second thing to think about is recording what has happened. All too often, as time ticks by and the true extent of one’s injuries become more obvious, there’s little evidence around to hep you make a successful claim. Also, who should you be claiming against? Make sure you know where you are and record the location and cause of the injury on a phone. This way solicitors such as ourselves, can help identify who is actually responsible and therefore liable for your injury, and against whom a claim could be made.
  3. Third, it’s quite common for people tripping over to trivialise the injury and to brush it aside, only for complications to arise later. So, unless it’s obvious the trip has only resulted in a few scratches, a bruised ego or a little embarrassment, make some notes and take some photos if you can, or asked somebody else to.
  4. “Don’t be in a hurry to settle” This is a common trick employed by insurance companies acting for the defending party. It can be tempting, especially if you need the money. Settle early though, before you can truly assess the extent of your injuries and their full impact on your life in the years to come, and you’ll likely have little recourse if later you find you didn’t claim enough. Work with a professional personal injury solicitor and your healthcare providers to fully assess the damage.

From a property owners perspective

Ensuring access to your property is free form potential injury sources, is an ongoing battle. While you may maintain  building and grounds, what happens to them can often be beyond your immediate control. Vehicle, even people can damage street furniture, buildings, fences, path and walkways, drives, etc, leaving them as a potential source of injury in the future. What’s more is that these can be somewhat invisible to, such as a poorly seated paving slab that moves too much when walked on. 

If your property or business premises has its fair share of visitors, either on foot or vehicular access, be on your guard. Personal injury fraud is rife too, and some people will go out of their way to fein an injury for money. All they need is a credible reason, so don’t help set yourselves up. Make sure all access routes to your property is well maintained. Hold your contractors doing the maintenance, to account. Install video surveillance of your principle access routes, and some in between too. This way you may catch the incident too.

Lastly, make sure that you have good insurance that covers eventualities like this – at least you’ll have some piece of mind.

Need to understand more about make personal injury claims? Check out our personal injury claims information centre
here.

Have you suffered a tripping accident and need to make a claim but are not sure where to start?

Call David Dolties at Romain Coleman on 0208 520 4555 and discuss how his personal injury specialists can bring your case to a satisfactory conclusion.