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Patterned Pavement Caused Lady to Have Accident in a Public Place

By Principal Lawyer, Occupiers and Public Liability

There was an interesting article in today’s Daily Mail (13th May 2014) and a rather disturbing picture of an elderly women who had fallen, sustaining a nasty injury to her face as a result of not being able to differentiate between a patterned pavement area and a step which adjoins what is being described as a multi pedestrian/bicycle and car area in Grimsby.

There was a single photograph, showing what strikes me as being a very interesting pattern but which also appears to suggest that it is difficult to make out the true pavement area to either side which has a small step over which I understand from the article, the pedestrian tripped leading to her nasty injuries.  

I am much in favour of local authority pedestrianising roads. In my view towns and cities are well served not only by making appropriate allowances for cars, buses and lorries as they should do, but by making it much easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get about.

The obligation however rests solely upon the local authority to make sure that any steps which they carry out (certainly no pun intended) are done so with much thought and with having due regard to the appropriate users.

The law, namely the Highways Act places an obligation on local authorities. At Slater and Gordon Lawyers, we have successfully represented numerous clients in claims against local authorities who have simply failed in their duty, in circumstances where the failure is obvious and where on occasions very nasty injuries have been sustained as a result of the failure.

One has to wonder, given the nature of what is probably well described as ‘crazy paving’ in Grimsby town centre, was there much thought given to people with limited vision and the elderly who would not be able to clearly differentiate between the road, the true pavement and the step in between.

I anticipate that had the local authority paused and thought, the risks might have been more obvious.

By Tristan Hallam, a Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in accidents in public places at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

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