I want to make a claim against the local authority to get compensation for tripping on a pothole in the street. I didn’t see the hole in the pavement because it was covered by fallen leaves. Will I be entitled to make a claim?

Although you tripped and fell due to a hole in the pavement, you will only be able to claim compensation for tripping on a pothole if you can establish and prove that the local authority has been negligent for failing to make repairs in a reasonable time frame.

The local authority owes pedestrians a duty of care to ensure that pavements are kept in a good state of repair, but the duty of care is not ’absolute’. This means that the local authority cannot be held responsible for every trip and fall in the street, even when they are caused by potholes. The local authority must be give time to identify potholes and arrange for them to be repaired.

In order for the local authority to be deemed to have been negligent and have failed in a duty of care, it must have failed to repair the pothole within a ‘reasonable time frame’. There is no set time frame for doing this under government regulations, which can make this type of claiming pothole trip injury compensation complicated.

The local authority has a responsibility to conduct routine inspections of road and pavements to identify potholes and other hazards, although it is now increasingly common for local residents to report potholes to the local authority. Reports can now be made online by providing the postcode and location of the pothole. Since it is now easy for complaints to be made, it is possible that the pothole has already been reported to the local authority. If this has happened, it can make establishing negligence for a failure to make repairs more straightforward.

When a lawyer is used to pursue a claim, one of the first things that will be checked is if complaints have previously been made. If no action has been taken to make repairs in a reasonable amount of time following the complaint, this would be regarded as negligent and a claim for a trip on a pothole should have a good probability of being successful.

Due to a spate of bogus claims made against local authorities in recent years, local authorities are now more inclined to automatically deny liability when a claim for a trip on a pothole is made. It is therefore vital that a strong claim for pothole trip injury compensation is prepared to maximise the probability of the local authority accepting liability. When liability is accepted, it is usually possible for a lawyer to negotiate a settlement quickly with the council’s insurance company.

It is therefore advisable to contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance with recovering compensation for tripping on a pothole. A lawyer will help to establish and prove local authority negligence – if the local authority has indeed been negligent – and, if so, will ensure the strongest possible case for compensation is prepared.