Whether it be a defective pavement, walkway or car park surface, falls on outdoor surfaces can result in serious injuries. It is often difficult to establish liability, especially where the land is owned and maintained by Local Authorities. This is mainly because Councils inspect their roads and pavements regularly and generally utilise the defence provided by S58 of The Highways Act 1980. It is common for Councils to stipulate that if they have inspected the particular area where the incident took place and no defect was found, they have discharged their liability towards pedestrians. Further, if they are not notified of the defect giving rise to claim promptly or have not received any prior complaints, their defence becomes robust. In light of the aforesaid, it is vital that clear evidence is obtained in order to adequately rebut any defence presented.
To assist in establishing liability, it is vital that the following evidence is obtained:
- Clear images showing the location of the defect, preferably with recognisable features or buildings within the background.
- Clear images of the defect with a ruler showing the width, depth and length of the same.
- A record of the measurements of the defects with dates on which the measurements were obtained and by whom.
- A note of surrounding addresses including businesses, houses and any other properties in order to enable your Solicitor to clarify whether there were any witnesses to the incident or whether the occupiers were aware of the defect's existence.
- The names and contact details of any witnesses.
If the aforementioned evidence is obtained, this will impugn the Councils defence thus enabling your Solicitor to obtain the adequate amount of compensate and vindicate you for your loss.