There are always going to be damaged or broken pavements found in any town or city simply because there are so many that it is impossible for any local council or authority to maintain each and every broken pavement or paving slab as soon as one is reported. Unfortunately this can lead to accidents and injuries of various severity to blameless victims occurring. If this should happen then it might be worth investigating your rights to claim compensation.
Below is a basic guide on how to go about making a pavement claim:
1. Work with a solicitor.
In truth, you can file a pavement claim without having to hire a personal injury solicitor. However, without knowing the intricacies of law, you may put yourself in greater jeopardy if you work by yourself.
To increase your chances of winning your claim it is wise to call on the services of a solicitor. He can, first, evaluate the claim you want to make. After all, not all types of injury claims have the likelihood of prospering or winning. He can also file the claim on your behalf to relieve you of further stress and you can focus more on your recovery.
2. Identify who is responsible.
It’s extremely important that you’re able to properly identify the party responsible for the accident you have suffered otherwise the claim may not be honoured both by the defendant and the court. That would then mean you’ve lost the claim and you may have to pay for the court fees of the defendant, among other probable costs. Besides, isn’t it a waste of time and money to pursue the wrong person or entity?
In a pavement claim, the party to blame can be a variety. First, determine the ownership of the pavement. Is it a public or a private property? If it’s a public property, know whether the pavement issue is a cosmetic issue or truly poses a real danger and warrants an immediate repair by the local council. If the pavement is owned by a private entity, then they become the defendant of the claim.
An essential principle that should be considered in a pavement claim is negligence. You have to be able to prove that the defendant didn’t exercise due care and diligence over the pavement, which then lead to your injury.
3. Gather the documents you need.
A solicitor can tell you what kinds of materials and documents you have to prepare as proof of your claim. These can include medical records, receipts showing your medical expenses, eyewitness accounts and reports, police reports, insurance coverage, local council report, etc.
4. Send a notification to the defendant.
The law is impartial. Hence, one should notify the defendant who will then be given enough time to investigate the matter further and send a reply. If they accept the liability and agree with the compensation you’re asking, the claim is hopefully almost over. It only really moves to a court when there’s a denial or refusal. By bringing the claim to the courts, you’re allowing the judge to determine if you truly deserve the compensation as well as how much you should get.
There’s a time limit for filing a pavement claim, which is three years from the date of the accident. Children, meanwhile, may do so within three years after they have turned eighteen. However, as long as the parent or the guardian is considered as a litigation friend, he can file for a claim on behalf of the child.
Just because it’s a no-win, no fee agreement doesn’t have to mean you get the services pro bono. It’s just that when you lose, you pay only a certain type of fee, often called success fee.