Trips, Slips & Potholes

In order to make a successful claim for your accident, there are certain things we have to establish.


If you have tripped over something sticking up, or have fallen or ridden into a hole in the road/pavement surface

Firstly, we must show that the defect is bad enough to be considered a clear hazard to people using the area. The guideline marker for defects on the pavement is that the defect must be at least 1”/25mm above or below the surface of the pavement, or 2”/50mm in the road. However, it may be the general condition of the road that is important.

That part of the claim is usually the least difficult to deal with, because it will be fairly clear in most cases whether the surface is dangerous. However, it is important that we see some photographs of the defect before you report it. Once the council (or other body responsible for the area) becomes aware that there has been an accident, they will normally be very quick to carry out repairs If you are able to, please obtain photographs, preferably using some sort of measure against which to compare the size – e.g. a tape measure with a straight edge across the top of the defect to show the dimensions.

The second stage is to show is that either the local highway authority with responsibility for the road knew of the defect and did not repair it, or that they did not carry out regular inspections of the road.

Typically we run these claims cautiously, limiting the work that we do initially to putting the claim to the opponent and providing advice on their response.

If you have slipped or tripped or collided on or with something left on the pavement or highway

The most common type of claim is where work has been carried out and the contractors have failed to clean up properly, or have left materials behind.

If you have slipped or tripped in a store or other premises

An occupier of premises is under a duty to ensure that visitors are reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes of the visit.

Whether or not the owners or occupiers of the premises will be held to be at fault for an accident will depend largely on whether they had regular checks in place to ensure that any defects or spillages that occur are addressed promptly.

The most important thing that we need to advise you of with these claims is that they can take some time to settle – due to most local authorities’ or contractor’s delays. However, such delays will be due to factors outside our control.

Whichever type of claim yours is, we will need as much information as possible about the surrounding circumstances – how long the defect had been there; if anyone else had reported it; whether you already knew it was there etc.

Further Advice