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Thread: Sue the council?

  1. #1
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Sue the council?

    I had the misfortune of breaking both ankles nearly 3 weeks ago now.

    I was walking the dog minding my own business when I stepped into a well camouflaged grassy hole, rolled my left ankle (snap), put my right foot out that hit the other side of the hole and another snap. Double fractures.

    Been in touch with the council who pretty quickly want down and filled the hole in. It also appears they are also fixing up broken fences and other items that need sorting out.

    It is their land and I have put all the details in writing and as they advised me to, copied in the insurance team at the council. This was a week ago now, and I have heard nothing.

    Anyone been in a similar situation? Not sure whether to chase them up or get legal representation involved. Iím not looking for a megabucks payout, but this is going to need a good amount of physio and rehab, which isnít cheap.


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  2. #2
    Master
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    Did you take photographs before they rushed to repair the hole?

  3. #3
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Yeah got pictures.

    The hole I stepped in:



    With a 60cm spirit level installed, hole was about 20cm deep.




    Filled in now, wife for scale.




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  4. #4
    That isn't a hole, it's a mantrap

  5. #5
    Master
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    Quick google search but have no idea how accurate the estimates are…

    Type of Ankle Injury Estimated Compensation Amount
    Severe ankle injuries that require lengthy recuperation with complete or near complete recovery £15,000
    Twisted or broken ankle with incomplete recovery £7,500
    Twisted or broken ankle with full recovery £3,500

    I would also expect reimbursement for any outlay you have plus compensation for any loss of earns?

  6. #6
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Master
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    I believe the police were also looking in to it

  8. #8
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suds View Post
    Quick google search but have no idea how accurate the estimates are…

    Type of Ankle InjuryEstimated Compensation Amount
    Severe ankle injuries that require lengthy recuperation with complete or near complete recovery£15,000
    Twisted or broken ankle with incomplete recovery£7,500
    Twisted or broken ankle with full recovery£3,500

    I would also expect reimbursement for any outlay you have plus compensation for any loss of earns?
    Some big numbers there!

    Didnít really want to go down the legal route, I guess Iíll give them until next week for a response. Difficult to know whether legal representation will make any difference to proceedings or just extra costs.


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  9. #9
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    I don't think that you've got a leg to stand on.



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  10. #10
    I would have thought that it the Council's responsibility to maintain the public highway and footpaths. That looks like it's off the footpath so can't see how the council would be to blame.

    Councils own a lot of playing fields, woodland and parcels of land etc. they can't be responsible for flattening every mole hill and filling every badger/rabbit/fox/dog hole incase someone walks over it.

    That's purely my thinking, with no legal knowledge. So seek professional advice and let us know how you get on.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery!

  11. #11
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisparker View Post
    I would have thought that it the Council's responsibility to maintain the public highway and footpaths. That looks like it's off the footpath so can't see how the council would be to blame.

    Councils own a lot of playing fields, woodland and parcels of land etc. they can't be responsible for flattening every mole hill and filling every badger/rabbit/fox/dog hole incase someone walks over it.

    That's purely my thinking, with no legal knowledge. So seek professional advice and let us know how you get on.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery!
    Yeah, thatís what I thought, but it was actually my council contact who suggested about making a personal injury claim!

    I have spoken with a friendís PI team in his law practice. Not something they would take on as the value would be too low, but they did say itís worth pursuing.


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  12. #12
    Master jukeboxs's Avatar
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    No personal experience here of suing councils - I just wanted to add that I have used Which Legal Services in the past (I took an insurer to court, and won), and I found them to be excellent (and quite cost effective). Might be worth considering, even if just at the outset. £29 initial + £9pm. [You could check beforehand if this is an area they would cover.]
    https://legalservice.which.co.uk/

    Good luck, and I wish you well in your recovery.

  13. #13
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Friend broke or fractured his ankle in a pothole on a tarmac tennis court in a public park. Think he got approx £5k, not sure about fees.

    There was an old TV documentary where councils were sued for branches falling from trees on streets and in parks as a falling branch showed neglect and was ultimately the councils remit.

  14. #14
    Master
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    Hi op

    That's great that you got pics. Await their response and then take it from there.

  15. #15
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisparker View Post
    I would have thought that it the Council's responsibility to maintain the public highway and footpaths. That looks like it's off the footpath so can't see how the council would be to blame.

    Councils own a lot of playing fields, woodland and parcels of land etc. they can't be responsible for flattening every mole hill and filling every badger/rabbit/fox/dog hole incase someone walks over it.

    That's purely my thinking, with no legal knowledge. So seek professional advice and let us know how you get on.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery!
    Quote Originally Posted by eletos View Post
    Yeah, thatís what I thought, but it was actually my council contact who suggested about making a personal injury claim!

    I have spoken with a friendís PI team in his law practice. Not something they would take on as the value would be too low, but they did say itís worth pursuing.


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    Much the same for me. It wouldn't even cross my mind that I may be able to sue anyone if I fell down a hole in a grass verge.
    We live in a very strange world these days.

    OP - I hope you mend well very soon and reach an amicable agreement without too much delay.

  16. #16
    Definitely chase them.......

  17. #17
    Master Ruggertech's Avatar
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    If its council owned land that is provided for walking/recreation/sports etc I'd have thought they are responsible whether it is on a path or not unless they have cordoned the area off.
    Sounds very painfull, plus a major inconvenience to every aspect of your life for the near future OP, best of luck to you.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    If its council owned land that is provided for walking/recreation/sports etc I'd have thought they are responsible whether it is on a path or not unless they have cordoned the area off.
    Sounds very painfull, plus a major inconvenience to every aspect of your life for the near future OP, best of luck to you.
    Looking at the picture with OP's wife, area hardly looks suitable for sports and such like.

  19. #19
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Looking at the picture with OP's wife, area hardly looks suitable for sports and such like.
    Itís the entrance to the grass football pitches. Pin marks the hole!




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  20. #20
    Master Ruggertech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Looking at the picture with OP's wife, area hardly looks suitable for sports and such like.
    Walking. Moving out of the way of someone getting out of a car. Helping someone disabled getting out of a car and onto a mobility scooter etc. Letting a dog do its business. Etc. Why isn't it cordoned off then?

  21. #21
    Master
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    It looks like the wooden barrier is a couple of metres short. I bit longer and it would have covered the hole.

  22. #22
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    Ouch!

  23. #23
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johny View Post
    It looks like the wooden barrier is a couple of metres short. I bit longer and it would have covered the hole.
    Yeah, I wondered if the hole might have been from a previous fence.

    The entire fence has now been removed, it was broken in parts, not sure whatís going to replace it, but thereís lots going on down there now.


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  24. #24
    OP - hope you recover soon. Check your home insurance policy for legal expenses cover. Many have it and donít know it. Use that to purse a claim. It is the only way they will pay up. Asking politely and being patient wonít do anything

    You have up to 3 years to initiate a claim and costs of physio etc can all be claimed.


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  25. #25
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by eletos View Post
    Yeah, I wondered if the hole might have been from a previous fence.

    The entire fence has now been removed, it was broken in parts, not sure whatís going to replace it, but thereís lots going on down there now.


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    The more they fix the more liable they look.

  26. #26
    I canít see this , surely every made bit of road or land that we walk on is at our own risk, if not the land owners may as well stop us walking on any of it

  27. #27
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    I canít see this , surely every made bit of road or land that we walk on is at our own risk, if not the land owners may as well stop us walking on any of it
    I agree. What would happen if you did the same walking over a public footpath. Would the landowner be liable?


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  28. #28
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by johny View Post
    The more they fix the more liable they look.
    Maybe they look at it like potholes, they arenít liable till someone reports it and thatís why theyíve done it so quickly.


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  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by aa388 View Post
    Maybe they look at it like potholes, they arenít liable till someone reports it and thatís why theyíve done it so quickly.


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    Wow. Makes sense if it applies to pot holes. Absolute cop out if so.

  30. #30
    Master
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    Sorry to hear of your injuriesÖ but that doesnít look like something you should be looking to sue the council over.

    Do we expect councils to make all grassy areas like a cricket square?

    I think just put it down as an accident and focus on your recovery.

  31. #31
    Master Wolfie's Avatar
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    Who funds the council?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprite1275 View Post
    Wow. Makes sense if it applies to pot holes. Absolute cop out if so.
    This is exactly Edinburgh Council's policy. As long as they inspect the roads to the legal minimum interval, they are not liable unless someone reports it and they fail to act.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Scepticalist View Post
    This is exactly Edinburgh Council's policy. As long as they inspect the roads to the legal minimum interval, they are not liable unless someone reports it and they fail to act.
    How do you find out if a pot hole has been reported? If I smash an alloy. I want to know it's been reported. Also are they liable if they have put their markings around the hole?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprite1275 View Post
    How do you find out if a pot hole has been reported? If I smash an alloy. I want to know it's been reported.
    You make sure a friend or family member reports it the day before you damaged your alloy :-)

  35. #35
    In terms of the OP, of you considering a claim I would definitely get a good lawyer involved from the outset.

    I'm shocked at the poor state of LA land in our area. For example, there are multiple hedges extending across pavements meaning that my disabled wife, plus numerous other potential vulnerable pedestrians, have to walk in the road for extended periods. An accident waiting to happen and completely avoidable with basic maintenance.

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  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by eletos View Post
    Itís the entrance to the grass football pitches. Pin marks the hole!




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    Looks like other side of that Ďconcreteí bit, nearer the brambles etc TBH.

  37. #37
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisparker View Post
    I would have thought that it the Council's responsibility to maintain the public highway and footpaths. That looks like it's off the footpath so can't see how the council would be to blame.

    Councils own a lot of playing fields, woodland and parcels of land etc. they can't be responsible for flattening every mole hill and filling every badger/rabbit/fox/dog hole incase someone walks over it.

    That's purely my thinking, with no legal knowledge. So seek professional advice and let us know how you get on.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery!
    Our council would have a bit of a job on....




    Hope you mend quickly OP.
    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Griswold View Post
    Our council would have a bit of a job on....




    Hope you mend quickly OP.
    Exactly, if the Council were liable, every Tom, Dick and Harry would be going to their local Council owned piece of land with a spade, digging a hole and injuring themselves to claim ££££.

    Sometimes we have to accept personal responsibility, otherwise local authorities will have to plaster areas like this with signage telling people to walk on uneven surfaces at their own risk, or close public spaces altogether at the risk of being Sued.

  39. #39
    Should have gone to Specsavers ? :)

    Get well soon.

  40. #40
    If you do decide to sue the council, Iíd personally instruct a solicitor. It would probably be on a no win, no fee basis but they will or ably take a cut of your damages.

    The Highways Act 1980 affords the council a statutory defence in the form of a reasonable system of inspection. A pre cursor to an action for personal an injury is a Pre Action Disclosure application which allows the Claimant sight of records pertaining to the inspections of the area where the incident took place.

    If you want any help of advice, drop me a PM. I was a Defendant PI solicitor in a previous lifeÖ

  41. #41
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    It's got to be worth a punt, I remember when Stan Ogden stubbed his toe on a wonky paving slab and got 200 quid out of the council.
    Don't just do something, sit there. - TNH

  42. #42
    That's some seriously bad luck, I hope you recover soon and fully. I can not imagine what it must be like having both ankles out of action at the same time. Best wishes to you and your future health.

  43. #43
    Nightmare.

    Regardless of any legal action, make sure you do your rehab properly - 2 broken ankles could seriously curtail any future sporting ambitions and indeed general mobility!

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  44. #44
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxnick1975 View Post
    Nightmare.

    Regardless of any legal action, make sure you do your rehab properly - 2 broken ankles could seriously curtail any future sporting ambitions and indeed general mobility!

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    Yeah, climbing the walls at the moment. Desperate to get on with some rehab. Still not recovered from a previous injury!


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  45. #45
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    It's got to be worth a punt, I remember when Stan Ogden stubbed his toe on a wonky paving slab and got 200 quid out of the council.
    Now that is a reference of merit. Just looked it up. 1984 that was!

    With inflation that just over £800. Double fracture, £1600. Should get me 20 physio sessions!


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  46. #46
    Master Chewitt13's Avatar
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    This happened to my mum, she tripped on a hole, put her arms out to catch herself and fractured both arms.

    She sued the council and got £27k in compensation without going to court. She didnt tell me about the claim as I also have the opinion of personal responsibility, she is really clumsy

    This was about 5 years ago

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  47. #47
    Master Halitosis's Avatar
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    Some examples here of compo culture - not you OP, just a sad sign of the age we live in

  48. #48
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halitosis View Post
    Some examples here of compo culture - not you OP, just a sad sign of the age we live in
    Yeah, that doesnít really sit well with me, but then again, when in Rome..


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  49. #49
    Craftsman eletos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chewitt13 View Post
    This happened to my mum, she tripped on a hole, put her arms out to catch herself and fractured both arms.

    She sued the council and got £27k in compensation without going to court. She didnt tell me about the claim as I also have the opinion of personal responsibility, she is really clumsy

    This was about 5 years ago

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    Wow. Hope she has recovered OK. Double arms must be worse than double ankles!


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  50. #50
    Two broken ankles sounds like a pretty serious injury to me, and if the council have taken the steps to check them and carry out remedial works, that may admit that they have liability.

    My old man broke his ankle on what was deemed a dangerous pavement - where a number of previous injuries were advised, without a claim; and no repairs carried out. They paid him a small amount, and fixed the payment - but his ankle has never been the same, and to this do he hasnít been able to ride his vintage motorbikes, as he could/can no longer kick start them with his ankle.
    It's just a matter of time...

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