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The types of defect with a public highway which can lead to your trip or slip accident claim for compensation

Discover what a public highway actually is and the different types of defect which can cause you to have a UK trip slip accident claim for compensation.

What is a public highway?

A "public highway" is road, pavement, path etc. which the public are entitled to use and is "maintainable at public expense".

"Maintainable at public expense" means that the council is required to maintain it and keep it free from defects which includes a tripping or slipping hazard to pedestrians.

Each council is required by law to keep a list of all the public highways within its geographical area. You can see this list free of charge at your council office.

What are the most common types of  trip or slip on a public highway which will entitle you to claim compensation?  

imgThere are many different examples of defects with a public highway that can cause you to trip or slip and injure yourself - including:

1. Raised or cracked paving stones

The should keep the pavement in good repair - this is after all why we pay our taxes.

Raised and cracked pavements are an obvious tripping hazard to pedestrians.

2. Trenches or other highway works that are not clearly sectioned off from road users

The council should ensure that whilst it is conducting any repairs or works to the highway it protects pedestrians from the hazard it creates.  This could be by use of barriers and signs. 

3. Snow and ice

Since 1 November 2003 - councils are required to ensure that your safety on a highway is not endangered by snow and ice. 

4. Spills which make the highway slippery

Normally a spill of oil etc. that could make a highway slippery is the result of a single act by another road user and not by the council.  Still that road user can be held responsible if you are injured as a result.

5. Damage or defects with the road itself

Imagine you are driving your car when you suddenly hit a large hole in the road causing you to crash your car.  The person who caused the hole in the road can be responsible for your injures or vehicle damage.  The council may even be responsible if it knew of the defect and failed to protect road users or repair the hole quickly.

6. Cracked, missing or damaged drainage grids or water board covers

This might be the responsibility of the council or the water board.  It is best to write to both concerning your accident and you will be quickly told who is responsible.

7. Highway works not completed by the council or its contractors

The council will have a list of all the works done on the highway that was their responsibility and those that were not - by contacting the council you can find who you should contact to make your claim if a defect was not caused by the council.

To decide if you have a claim for a slip trip or fall you will need the particular circumstances of your accident to be assessed by a specialist personal injury solicitor or:

Click here to ask me a question about your claim

You have learned what a "public highway" is and the most common types of trip slip accident claims in the UK.

I recommend you:

Click here to find out how to show the council is legally responsible for your highway trip slip compensation claim