The son of a pensioner who tripped and fell over a raised paving stone believes that she is entitled to compensation for the injuries she sustained from the fall.
The incident occurred when Gwendoline Smith, seventy-six, of Noak Bridge, Essex tripped over the raised edge of a path after alighting from a bus in Southend. Several injuries were sustained as Mrs. Smith fell badly on her left side and hit her head on the path as she fell. An ambulance was called to the scene, and Mrs. Smith was then brought to Southend Hospital where she received medical attention for her injuries, including suspected fractures to her knee.
Mrs. Smith still seeks medical attention from her local hospital in Basildon for conditions resulting from her fall, including headaches, pains in her back, shoulders and legs and lumps on her head. Additionally, Mrs. Smith has experienced difficulty speaking since the incident, but doctors consider this to be a short-term ailment arising from injuries to her face.
Mrs. Smith’s son, Michael, believes that his mother should receive compensation for her injuries, as she was not at fault in the incident. However, making such a claim for compensation after tripping and falling in the street is not straight-forward, and the court will need to examine what sort of hazard was posed by the cracked paving stone and how close it was to the bus stop. The much-cited “one-inch” rule, where a successful compensation claim can only be made if a paving stone is raised by one inch, is mythical.
If the crack appeared not long before the incident, Mrs. Smith may not be entitled to compensation as the local council may not have had adequate time to carry out repairs on the path. If the crack was recent, the council may not be liable for any injuries caused by falling in the street. Additionally, the council does not have an outright duty to find and repair broken paving stones. A council spokesperson assures that the council take such matters seriously, and a representative of their Environmental Care team will assess the area where the accident occurred.