Pavement and Pothole Claims

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Every year thousands of pedestrians are injured on pavements and roads due to potholes and broken or raised paving slabs. Trips and falls in public areas are more common than you may think. Defects on paths and roads can cause serious injuries such as head injuries, broken arms and broken hips.

The law in England and Wales provides some protection to members of the public. Should councils fail to exercise their duty to keep public areas free from dangerous defects, they can be liable if someone suffers injuries. 

Making a claim against the council can be difficult. However, if you can prove that the council have been negligent, then there is no reason why your claim for personal injuries and financial losses should not succeed. On occasions, there may be a dispute between an injured person and the Council and their interpretation of the law, and this could result in a Judge having to decide the outcome by way of a Court hearing. 

Read Macks’ successful appeal against Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

How Difficult is it to Win a Claim Against the Council?

Firstly, you must be realistic. The law does not require every pavement or road to be completely flat and free from potholes. If this were the case, it would be a huge cost to the public, so every case needs to be considered carefully. The council will most likely deny responsibility for an accident you suffered while innocently walking along and falling as a result of a pothole or a raised paving slab. Just because the council deny liability does not mean that you cannot win your case. It is our job to review the council’s records carefully and undertake further investigations into any defence and denial of liability made by the council.

Think of a Jigsaw Puzzle – We Need to Put the Pieces Together to Build a Strong Case

Macks have been handling highway tripping cases for almost 30 years. We know that it is vital to put the pieces of evidence together to build a strong case. This is why we recommend you seek legal advice immediately if you suffer an injury on a public footpath or road.

Photographs of the defect and the surrounding area

  • In order to assess your case, we will ask you for a photograph of the actual defect that caused you to suffer injury. This may be difficult for you if you have a serious injury so you may need to ask a family member to do it for you. Although in most circumstances, we will be able to visit the area and take measurements and photographs for you.
  • Photographs of the defect need to be taken as soon as possible.  The defect must be measured and we will also need to see a long-range photograph which shows the surrounding area including the defect. It is crucial that we can identify the exact location, so you should try to record road names, house numbers and names of nearby shops which can assist us to find the area.  Your photograph should be dated too. 
  • Once you have your photograph, you need to mark upon it (with an arrow) your direction of travel immediately prior to your fall.

Attendance at the hospital or GP

  • If you have suffered a serious injury, you will no doubt need to seek medical treatment, which also forms part of the “jigsaw”. As well as the injury conversations you had with medical staff regarding your accident will be recorded in your notes and may become crucial evidence in proving your case.

Your direction of travel and the mechanics of your fall

  • As well as photographs, you need to try and remember which way you were walking and how the accident happened. Again, this can be difficult as you will no doubt have been in a state of shock when you fell, but it is crucial that you can describe exactly how you fell. For example, did you catch your toe on a raised edge, did your ankle twist and turn over as a result of standing on an uneven pothole?


  • You may have been with someone when you fell, and they can confirm that the accident happened and that the fall was a result of the defect in question. 
  • However, other potential witnesses may include people who live nearby (or shop owners) who can state how long the defect has been present.  If members of the public state that they have reported a dangerous defect, and the council has failed to take action, this could be strong evidence that helps your case. 
  • Knowing how long a dangerous defect has been present on a footpath or road is crucial in a highway tripping claim. The council may say that they inspected the area and did not note any defects. However, if you are able to prove otherwise, with strong witness evidence, then you are more likely to succeed. 

Google Images

  • In recent years Google images have proved very useful in not only identifying areas but in also looking at the historic condition of a footpath or road.  If you can spot the defect on Google Street View and the image was taken several months before your accident this could be a key piece in the jigsaw of evidence.

Council documents and records

  • Other crucial pieces of evidence will be the council’s own records of inspection of the area where you fell. These records are not readily available to members of the public, so we will need to request them when making your claim for compensation.

Always be Truthful

You must always bear in mind that when you bring a claim for personal injury, you are entering a legal process. Not all claims end up going to Court and being assessed by a Judge at trial, but a small percentage do and if you are not truthful from the beginning of your claim you could make things very difficult for yourself and your lawyer.  

Want to get started?

Our personal injury lawyers are friendly and have a wealth of experience in handling highway tripping claims.  If you are confident that your accident was caused by the negligence of the council, call us today on  01642 843 667 for a no-obligation chat. Alternatively, complete our online contact form, and one of our solicitors will be in touch.

Even if you don’t have all of the relevant information to hand, we will help you to build your case and we will act on a No Win, No Fee basis to ensure there is no risk to you regarding legal fees.

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Frank, could I just take a moment to thank you for everything you and Jayne have done. Throughout the whole experience, I was guided by yourself and on occasions, it became quite complicated with my situation however I must express how professional you are and how well you navigated and negotiated the final outcome. Also, Jayne was always a pleasure to speak with and again professional and communicative at every stage.  Without a doubt the best Solicitors practice I have ever dealt with the results Macks Solicitors get, speak for themselves.

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I got a chemical burn at work when the tray washer machine malfunctioned at work. I had to go to hospital for treatment once the burn was covered I had to keep going back to hospital 4 more times to get the burn treated I contacted Macks solicitors. They took my case and I got compensation for the burn I received at work. I am very pleased with my compensation Macks solicitors were excellent they dealt with my case quickly and efficiently I am very pleased with their work

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Anthony McCarthy was brilliant !

Amazing service from start to finish and kept me constantly updated throughout my daughters case. Others may not have taken on her case but Anthony McCarthy was brilliant and positive about the outcome from the get go. Thanks so much would definitely recommend.

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After a stolen car crashed into me on NYE, I came to Macks to see what was available for me, and my case was dealt with James and Demi who have been amazing throughout. Kept me informed at every step and made everything completely stress free for me! Would definitely recommend getting in touch if your involved and injured in an accident your not at fault for.

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I used Mack’s solicitors for a personal injury claim, Rebecca Montague and her staff were excellent in every way. I found the whole procedure stress free and was kept informed at every stage and had regular discussions along the way with an eventual positive outcome. Thank you Rebecca !

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I would highly recommend the PI team at Macks Solicitors

Excellent professional service from James Pritchard and his colleagues. James was very thorough and I was kept informed at every stage. Would highly recommend Macks Solicitors.

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Diane Clemetson

I can’t thank the PI team enough for making it so easy for me.

Highly recommended Macks Solicitors (James & Demi) kept me up to date, answered any questions and gave me the best advice throughout I can’t thank them enough for making it so easy for me. My phone was useless with calls (signal issues) so they emailed, sent letters and left me voicemails to keep me updated, claim was processed so quick they were brilliant.

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Had a accident at work and from start to finish Macks have been very helpful the staff are always their to help very professional I would recommend anyone to use them.

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A positive outcome in a complex case

Rebecca Montague Dealt with my claim and right from our first conversation she made me feel confident that she would do her best for me. Rebecca was genuinely interested to find out how I actually felt about each stage of the case and I was involved from start to finish. If Rebecca was off any query I had would be dealt with by her colleague or secretary. I have had an extremely positive relationship with this firm and was lucky in that I had a positive outcome in a complex case but this is not the reason I rate this firm a 5. I can only speak from experience and so Rebecca and her team get a 5 because it was always about me and they didn’t give up when things got difficult. Thank you I would have no hesitation in using your firm again.

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Mrs Brown

Highly recommended the company

100% professional services. This is the second time I have used the firm absolutely can’t fault the corespondents between all the staff who work there. They do exactly what you ask them to do. And advise you on the best routes to get what you are installed too. Highly recommended the company many thanks for handling my claim hopefully I won’t have anymore accidents at work but if I do I know who I’m going to call. Many thanks James Pritchard you really are amazing at your job, been a pleasure.

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Mr Kemp

More than impressed

I was more than impressed by the standard of professionalism from the first meeting with James Pritchard and the staff. We are all living in difficult times and I am delighted to say that I was fully supported at every stage of my claim. James always kept me fully informed of all developments and I am delighted to recommend them for first class service, attention to detail and communication from start to finish.

I will always use Macks Solicitors and would take the opportunity to thank all staff for the friendly advice and smooth communication from the very start.

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Mr Coleman

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From the outset, communication with this company was first class. I was kept fully informed during the whole process in relation to the progress of my claim. I felt that the company went above and beyond to assist with getting the best outcome for me. The person dealing with my claim was very thorough, courteous, polite; and made it so easy for me to deal with. On the whole, my experience from start to finish was excellent; and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future. Would Highly recommend.

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Mr Orton

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Call us on 0808 175 1901 or request a callback for further information, or start a claim and one of our specialist Pavement and Pothole Claims lawyers will be in touch.

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