Trips and Falls Caused by Potholes All You Need to Know

Trips and Falls Caused by Potholes: All You Need to Know

Potholes may be a somewhat regular occurrence on roads and pavements throughout Scotland, but they can be hazardous and cause accidents as well as significant injuries to both pedestrians and cyclists.

It’s widely reported that Scotland has a ‘pothole problem’ that needs tackled which was only magnified when, just this week in Glasgow City Centre, a sinkhole emerged on North Fredrick Street just off George Square. The large hole that suddenly appeared, likely caused by erosion underneath the ground’s surface from poor water drainage, has been cordoned off for public safety and Glasgow City Council are working to establish the cause and a solution, as a priority.

Whilst sinkholes are not a widespread occurrence, potholes unfortunately are. A recent report from the Scottish Government shows that the number of potholes on Scotland’s major roads has increased fivefold in the last 13 years. The figures show 3,981 potholes were reported on trunk roads in 2007/8, compared to 20,988 in the last full financial year.

Your local council or Transport Scotland has a duty to keep road surfaces, pavements and walkways safe for use – and as part of this, they should fill in potholes as quickly as possible after they’ve been reported, to keep members of the public safe. If they’re left, potholes can get worse over time. For drivers, this can cause road accidents as large potholes can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. But on pavements they can also lead to slips, trips, and falls, causing painful injuries for pedestrians. These injuries can be wide ranging and can result in anything from a skinned knee to a broken bone to a long-lasting disability that could prevent you from working for an extended period of time.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling these types of claims. Whilst these cases can often be tricky, we have an impressive track record of success and will work tirelessly to win the maximum financial settlement possible. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out more.

 

Am I Eligible to Make a Pothole Claim?

In order to be eligible to claim compensation from a pothole accident, you will need to satisfy a few simple criteria. The most crucial of which are;

  • Whilst it can vary, most Scottish courts will require potholes to be at least 20mm deep on pavements or 40mm deep on roads, and 300mm wide, to be classed as potholes and not ‘carriageway defects’.
  • The accident needs to have happened in the last three years, or your injury became apparent within the last three years.

 

Who is Responsible for the Pothole?

Unfortunately, potholes can pop up anywhere whether it’s on a public street, private property, or in your workplace. In regards to your claim for compensation following any injuries you’ve sustained, it’s the location of the pothole that will dictate who your claim will be made against.

If you’re the victim of a pothole accident at your work, and it can be proven that your employer has failed to mee the required Health and Safety standards set out by law, then you will have a viable route to claiming compensation against your employer.

Most pothole accidents will happen on public roads, which are the responsibility of either your local council or Transport Scotland. Local councils are responsible for the maintenance of all roads in their area – except motorways and trunk roads – in terms of section 1 of the 1984 Roads (Scotland) Act. In terms of the maintenance and management of these main roads, this falls under the jurisdiction of Transport Scotland.

A key aspect to a successful claim against the council following a pothole accident is being able to prove that the council ought to have repaired it already, therefore if there’s evidence of either a complaint or that the pothole has been there for a lengthy period of time, this can greatly support your claim.

If the pothole you fell or tripped into was on private land, you may be able to make a pothole accident claim if there has been negligence on the part of the landowner to maintain the safety of the surface or provide adequate warning if there are any hazards. For a case such as this, we’d highly recommend expert legal advice so if this has happened to you, get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee Solicitors today.

 

What Evidence Do I Need to Make a Claim?

The well-known saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is especially true when it comes to compensation claims for pothole accidents. To ensure a successful resolution to your case, we need to prove that the responsible party whether that’s the council, a landowner or your employer, breached their duty of care to ensure that the road or pavement was safe and usable. As such, it’s important to gather as much specific information and evidence as you can at the time. Try to record the following:

  • Photographic evidence of the pothole and surrounding area. The pictures should clearly demonstrate the size, location and depth of the pothole. To help with this, it’s a good idea to place a ruler or a recognisable item, like a coin or your keys into the pothole when taking the photo. This will help to clearly demonstrate the size of the pothole that caused your accident
  • For cyclists, photographic evidence of any damage to your bike
  • Statements from any witnesses who saw the accident
  • Full contact details for any witnesses
  • The date, time and exact location of the accident

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. Finally, be sure to report the pothole to the relevant body whether that is your local council or Transport Scotland.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

 

 

 

 

Staying Safe in Extreme Weather

With Storm Dennis only just getting started, slip trips and falls in the ice and wind are a serious risk. 

It’s important to remain cautious and vigilant in such extreme weather conditions. If you are in an area of high risk do not travel. Nothing is as important as your safety, so don’t risk it.

Make sure you look out for areas of black ice when walking and driving, and ensure your car is equipped to deal with emergencies (i.e. breakdowns in negative Celsius temperatures).

Be wary of public spaces like train or bus stations that will have slippery floors due to water being tracked in by commuters and crowd.

A seemingly simple fall can actually have severe consequences – don’t write off your injury if it has affected you with regards to your ability to work or travel, has taken away from your daily activities or has knocked your confidence. If you’ve had an accident within the last three years, you could have a claim, so contact Bonnar Accident Law and speak to one of our personal injury lawyers today to have an easy discussion about what you could be owed, absolutely free of charge. No win, no fee.

Immediate independent legal advice is available for anyone in Scotland, so please call us free of charge on 0800 163 978 or complete our Free Online Claim Enquiry form.

Trips, Slips and falls: How to Claim Compensation 

Slips, trips and falls are extremely common, and can result from misplaced equipment, unmarked wet areas, or defective flooring. If there is a person who should be responsible for your safety (whether at work, or out and about in public areas), then  you could be owed compensation. Call us today to speak to one of our friendly experts to have your case reviewed for free.

Possible injury-causing defects:

  • Broken pavements or walkways
  • Broken or inadequate handrails
  • Road or street repairs
  • Missing drain/manhole covers
  • Construction work
  • Pipe or cable laying
  • Damaged floors
  • Food or drink spillages
  • Wet floors
  • Snow or icy conditions – if the area has not been treated according to an agreed schedule. (The specific conditions underfoot at the time of your accident need to be assessed and the responsibilities of the property owner determined before a claim can be made.)

 

Let our expert legal team help you today — Find out if you have a claim. 

If you’d like to speak to us to assess your slip, trip or fall compensation, don’t delay.

You can complete our Free Online Claim Enquiry or Call us now on 0800 163 978 , and let us help you, today. 

 

Historic Scotland and Visit Scotland both ‘slip up’ on safety record

Staff and visitors at some of Scotland’s top tourism sights have injured themselves almost 250 times since the beginning of last year. Some 126 members of staff at Historic Scotland and VisitScotland, and 120 visitors to their sites, found themselves hurt in accidents, making the locations equally hazardous for the public and workers alike.

According to figures released today through a Freedom of Information request, more than 100 visitors at Historic Scotland sites received injuries ranging from cracked ribs to dislocated elbows and broken shoulders. Almost 20 members of the public at VisitScotland sites recorded injuries, including a child at the Wallace Monument in April of last year who had to have the tip of their finger removed after trapping it in a toilet door.

A spokesperson for VisitScotland said: “The safety of our staff and customers across our network of offices and visitor information centres is of paramount importance. We are striving to improve our performance in this area.”

Some of the more serious incidents at Historic Scotland sites resulted in staff or members of the public claiming for damages. A staff member who fell off scaffolding and tore an ankle ligament is currently having their claim handled by Historic Scotland solicitors, as is another who slipped on ice and broke a wrist. A third visitor has a claim currently being handled, after a trip on a raised kerb left them with a cut above the left eye and a broken shoulder.

A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: “The nature of our work and the sites that we manage present unique health and safety challenges. However, we recognise our responsibility to manage health and safety and constantly strive for a better performance record. We will continue to engage with employees, local partners, schools, travel trade industry, and the Health and Safety Executive to continually evolve in this area.”

In total, 22 people at Historic Scotland sites were struck by falling or moving objects, and 18 staff members suffered musculoskeletal injuries while handling furniture and other items. Another 21 people walked into or otherwise struck a fixed object – including three visitors who ran into the same interpretation board – and one staff member was involved in a vehicle accident.

Two staff members at Historic Scotland also suffered burns and blisters as a result of coming into contact with “Giant Hogweed”, an ornamental plant introduced to Britain in the 19th century that can cause scars that last for several years, or even permanent blindness.

There were fewer overall accidental injuries at VisitScotland’s sites, with 17 visitors and 28 staff suffering injuries at their locations. Slips, trips and falls accounted for most of these, with 17 people – 11 staff and six visitors – hurting themselves at VisitScotland sites in this way.

Historic sites and visitor attractions may not be inherently dangerous but clearly old buildings and exposed sites do present unique health and safety risks which can and must be managed.  At a time when Lord Young seems hell-bent on decrying the need for sensible risk management and is bemoaning the existence of ‘petty regulations’, the government would do well to remember that people actually expect to return home safe and sound at the end of a day out spent visiting a tourist attraction…and please, let’s not forget about the workers.

If you have been hurt or injured whilst visiting a tourist attraction in Scotland you can contact us for free legal advice and an expert review of your case on 0800 163 978.