With the snow and ice having finally melted after The Beast from the East (and more still forecast for parts of the country this weekend), it is now clear to see the devastation that it has left behind in relation to Kent's roads and pathways.
In fact when driving to work earlier this week (along the coast bound carriageway of the A2), I lost count of the number of potholes that have developed in the roadway and, unfortunately, the same can be said for the pavements.
Obviously defects in roads and in particular, pathways, represent significant tripping hazards to pedestrians, therefore I would urge everyone to take particular care when out and about – just because the snow and ice have melted, regrettably, danger remains!
I am sure that Kent County Council are currently working overtime to perform the unenviable task of putting right the damage that has been caused by The Beast from the East but inevitably this is going to be a long and arduous task.
Given the scale of this task for those who do have the misfortune of suffering injury as a result of tripping on a damaged and dangerous pathway, now seems an appropriate time to remind people that in order to pursue a successful claim for compensation it is not sufficient to simply establish that you have suffered injury as a result of tripping on a defect in a pathway.
For reasons that are perhaps more obvious following the type of weather that we experienced recently, it is accepted in law that it would be unreasonable and unrealistic for the Council / Highways Authority to be expected to repair every defect in a path or road the moment that it appears.
Therefore in respect of a tripping accident on a pathway/roadway maintained at public expense, it must also be proven that:-
- The defect was sufficiently dangerous / tortious that it represented a clear and foreseeable risk of danger to those using the path / roadway - generally this means that the hazard was larger than the Council’s intervention level for repair, typically at least an inch; and
- that it had been present, in the same dangerous condition, for sufficiently long that the Council / Highways Authority should have identified its presence, and carried out a repair, prior to the accident.
Therefore I would recommend that you take photographs of the defect upon which you tripped as soon as possible (preferably with a measuring device or item that will give the defect scale within the photograph) and also ask local residents or shop owners if they can provide any information about the length of time that the hazard had been present.
Finally, if you have any questions concerning an accident that you have suffered, or want to know whether you may be entitled to claim compensation, then you should contact a firm of solicitors accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and seek advice.