Can I claim for falling into an open manhole with no cordon or warning signs? I was lucky that I only tore a ligament and suffered cuts and bruises. I could have been severely injured.

You should be entitled to make a claim for falling into an open manhole against the company responsible for opening the manhole if no warning signs or cordons had been erected to alert you to the risk of falling. This is negligence and represents a serious failure in a duty of care.

Whenever manholes need to be accessed to allow work to be completed by a utility company, care needs to be taken not to endanger the general public. The removal of a manhole cover creates a serious hazard in the pavement or road, which has the potential to cause highly serious injuries.

High visibility cordons or fences should be erected around all four sides of a manhole while work is being undertaken, to alert pedestrians to the risk of falling. If a cordon, fence or warning sign had not been placed around the open manhole, the company’s public liability insurance policy would be liable to pay you compensation for your injuries.

Your actions leading up to the accident and directly after you sustained an injury have potential to affect your right to claim for falling into an open manhole. The utility company using the manhole had clearly been negligent for a failure to alert you of the risk of falling. However, if you were not paying attention to where you were walking, this could be classed as negligence with regards to your own personal safety. If you were reading a newspaper or texting on a mobile phone for instance, this would have decreased your awareness and could have contributed to the cause of the accident.

When you make a claim for compensation for falling into a manhole, the insurance company of the negligent third party will try to establish any part you may have played in the cause of the accident. If this can be established, the insurance company would seek to reduce any award of compensation for falling into a manhole to take your contributory negligence into account.

Your right to claim for a fall into a manhole will be lost if you did not seek medical attention after the accident. Your number one priority after an accident must be your health. Your medical records must support your claim for compensation for a fall into a manhole. If no record of your injuries exists, no claim can be made.

Establishing and proving negligence can be difficult, and building a strong case is essential if you are to maximise the probability of making a successful manhole injury claim against the insurance company of a utility company. We therefore strongly recommend speaking with a personal injury lawyer about making a claim. You will be given important legal advice and will receive assistance with collecting evidence of negligence, and you will find out what you must do next in order to start the process of making a manhole injury claim.