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accident claim against local council?

(24 Posts)
umberella Sun 20-Jul-08 16:25:28

DP had a nasty fall in our local park and had to have an op to sort his leg out. He's off work for a few weeks.

Should we try and claim compensation from the Council? He tripped on some old roots sticking right up out of the ground.

Neither of us have a clue how to go about this or whether he would even be entitled to anything from them. Would it be worth it? Should we do a no-win no-fee kind of thing if we do?

Any advice anyone??!

Thanks in advance smile

LIZS Sun 20-Jul-08 16:31:19

Think you'd have to prove negligence , that they knew about it and did nothing to warn th public. I assume it was on a path not just ground.

umberella Sun 20-Jul-08 16:38:31

well, a gap in the hedge that is used as a path-----not a concreted one iyswim.

hana Sun 20-Jul-08 16:39:11

but if it's a hedge it isn't really a path is it
even if people use it as such

LIZS Sun 20-Jul-08 16:44:04

ah so not an official route across the park that they would be obliged to keep clear then hmm ?

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 20-Jul-08 18:14:37

You wouldnt win any compensation.

He tripped, yet its somebody elses fault, even though he was taking a shortcut through a hedge !! Compensation culture has a lot to answer for.

Mercy Sun 20-Jul-08 18:28:01

As others have said you would have to prove that the LA had been negligent. There is a very slight possibility that they may have been by not making sure the gap in the hedge is used as a shortcut. But the LA's insurer will also take contributory neglegence into consideration.

But you can only claim for compensation for certain things - loss of earnings, extra(ordinary) costs you have incurred a result of his injury, for example.

Most of the time it's not worth the effort for what little you may be able to claim (it can be a rather drawn out business tbh)

llareggub Sun 20-Jul-08 18:37:28

There is always a catch with no-win no-fee type people.

I can just imagine what will happen if more people make this sort of claim. Parks will become sterile, boring environments and non-uniform tree roots will be removed. Fences will be erected around trees to prevent dangerous climbing and children will be forbidden to run. Or walk. Or climb.

Better still, the safest thing to do might be to ban children and adults from the park altogether. That is probably the safest thing to do.

Alternatively people could take responsibility for their own actions.

umberella Sun 20-Jul-08 20:01:47

ooh that's me told off!!

poor dp. I will tell him it's all his own fault for not seeing the two foot-high spiky roots poking vertically upwards and disembowelling his lower leg on them. How careless of him!

I really resent your holier-than-thou sanctimonious post llaregubb.

Thanks everyone else for your posts smile

chipkid Sun 20-Jul-08 20:10:44

Its the Occupiers Liability Act that is relevant here-Section 2. If they invite people into the park there is a statutory duty to make sure it is REASONABLY safe for visitors.

The problem your DP has is the fact he was walking through a hedge. This may not be fatal if it can be shown that the Council were aware that it was regularly used by people as a pathway and yet did nothing to make it safe/warn of the existence of these tree roots. But I fear that he will have an uphill struggle.

I don't think legal aid is available anymore for claims such as these and therefore the options are paying privately to bring the claim (which makes you liable for the council's costs should you lose) or entering into a conditional fee agreement. As solicitors donot get paid on a no win no fee basis-unless you win, it would be interesting to see if any solicitors local to you have sufficient confidence in your claim to risk not being paid for the work that they would have to do.

umberella Sun 20-Jul-08 20:18:39

Thanks chipkid -when i say 'walking through a hedge' I don't mean in the style of ray mears...it's actually about six or seven feet wide, used by the kids as a shortcut to the play park. There's no grass there because it is so obviously used as a path if you see what I mean. Perhaps we'll make some enquiries and see what's what. In the meantime I'll ring the Parks dept in the morning and ask if they can cut them down. They really are dangerous.

llareggub Sun 20-Jul-08 20:21:55

Yes, I can see what you mean about my post.

But I find the compensation culture utterly distasteful and am entitled to express this.

However, you should stay away from no-win no-fee companies. They are reprehensible. I know someone who used to work as a claims adviser for one of these companies and she used to deal with people who had won their claims but ended up actually owing money to the solicitors. Beware.

hana Sun 20-Jul-08 20:30:57

how could he not see 2 feet high spikes coming from the ground? that sounds odd

Mercy Sun 20-Jul-08 20:34:10

I think llareggub has made a fair point tbh. I wouldn't go through a purely no-win no-fee solicitor either. In fact a solicitor isn't even necesarry in a case like this.

A 2 foot high root is pretty obvious tbh (plus you can't disembowel your leg!)

But by all means point it out to the council.

umberella Sun 20-Jul-08 20:38:19

It was an accident hana- people do make them!

Thanks for your correction Mercy- just trying to give an impression of the injury he suffered. What I should have said was that he tripped, it went into his leg, ripped a seven inch hole in it and thrust his muscle out. Accurate enough for you?

Thanks again everyone who didn't respond either pedantically or with a judgey bent. smile

tiggerlovestobounce Sun 20-Jul-08 20:42:13

7 inch hole shock
Was it definately a tree root? - sounds awful.

hana Sun 20-Jul-08 20:45:02

yes people have accidents of course and sorry that your dh had one

but I can't see how the council is responsible for this
just my opinion though

umberella Sun 20-Jul-08 20:46:21

two hedge roots tigger. it was awful - he was in total shock after it happened, drifting in and out of consciousness and shaking violently. It hurt him pretty badly actually.

Mercy Sun 20-Jul-08 20:51:20

umbrella - I'm trying to advise you from a No need for your reponse to others either.

A seven inch wound sounds very serious. You need A&E records, doctors reports, photos, evidence of extra costs, future loss of earnings etc etc

llareggub Sun 20-Jul-08 20:55:27

I think that is the point, umbrella. It was an accident, so no one is responsible.

You know, my sister-in-law, idiot that she is, was in a car accident. Her DH crashed into the back of someone else and she decided to make a claim due the "whiplash" that she "suffered."

It magically disappeared when she found out that she'd be making a claim against her husband and that they'd have to put up with increased premiums as a result.

Your husband's accident does sound awful and I really do feel for you, really. I have also had a broken leg so can commiserate.

Mercy Sun 20-Jul-08 20:55:48

sorry, part of my post disappeared .

I was trying to advise you from a LA point of view.

tiggerlovestobounce Sun 20-Jul-08 20:55:55

Do you have legal cover on your home insurance? Might help you get a clearer idea of where you stand. Seems like you are potentially talking about a lot of money, so probably worth making sure you get good advice from the outset.

Mercy Sun 20-Jul-08 21:01:04

Basically, you can try to make a personal injury claim against the council but don't assume you can be successful, but beware the no-win, no-fee lot!

As I said earlier, contributory negligence (if any) will be taken into consideration and therefore lower your claim.

But equally, the council may have a duty to ensure the hedge was not used as a shortcut or path.

You need to find out for yourself but be prepared for a long wait

umberella Sun 20-Jul-08 21:04:07

Thank you everyone -no experience of this kind of thing so I haven't a clue.

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