Less than eight per cent of compensation claims for falls on pavements successful

The loose and uneven pavement where John Holland tripped. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The loose and uneven pavement where John Holland tripped. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Weston-super-Mare’s pavements are said to be in a ‘disgusting’ condition and people fear they will only get worse as winter draws closer.

North Somerset Council is responsible for road and pavement repairs in the district and information obtained by the Mercury revealed the authority has spent almost £6,000 on compensating 39 people who were injured after falling on dodgy pavements across the district.

The council confirmed the claims have been made over a 12-month period ending on May 31 for damage or injury sustained by pedestrians encountering pavement hazards such as poor surfaces, loose paving slabs, potholes or damaged kerbs.

However, the percentage of claims which were successful came to just 7.69 per cent.

Despite the low rate, the total value of compensation claims paid by the authority for such injuries amounted to £5,819.50.

A council spokesman said: “We have set procedures in place for investigating, handling and concluding claims brought against us in conjunction with our insurers.”

The Mercury previously reported 76-year-old John Holland fell outside the Walker & Ling department store in High Street on August 30.

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John was not seriously injured but was shaken by the incident.

MORE: Man falls in High Street.

He referenced an article published in the Daily Mail on August 25 which found councils across the country can cite Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980, which states they are not liable if they had not previously been alerted about the defect, and if the pavement was scheduled to be repaired at some point in the future.

There have been 10,329 liability claims to authorities in England for trips and slips on pavements during the past 12 months, but only 859 of these have been successful.

Despite this, councils still had to pay more than £2.1million in compensation.

An online poll of 220 Mercury readers found 72 per cent of voters felt Weston’s pavements were unsafe.

John’s wife Marion said: “The state of the pavements in the town centre is disgusting, you have to look down and watch your step to make sure you don’t fall in the cracks.

“I can only imagine this will get worse the closer we get to winter when the ground becomes more difficult to walk on.”