A lady from Derby was walking across a road in Mickleover, when she tripped in a deep pothole and suffered an injury to her right ankle.
Our client was walking on her road with her husband on 16th January, 2005, when the accident happened.
A claim was brought against Derby City Council who denied liability all the way throughout the claim. The council relied on the statutory defence found in the Highway Act, claiming that a walked inspection was carried out on 15th December 2004 – about a month prior to the accident – and that since the inspector did not record the pothole as being present, it was not there, and must have developed in one month.
This was disputed by our client, and it was the opinion of an expert highway’s engineer that this pothole, which was about 6.5cm deep and had grass growing within it at a depth of about 2cm, had not arisen in the space of one month and it would have existed on 15th December 2004. The expert believed the pothole should have been seen and repaired within 24 hours.
Witness reports from neighbours also confirm that the pothole had been present for over a month.
However, despite the witness evidence, the council continued to deny liability. An application to the court to rely on the evidence given by the expert highway engineer was made and granted.
A trial date was set for some time between July and August 2007 at the Derby, Combined Court Centre. However, an offer of £3,000 was made by Derby City Council to our client, which she accepted.
Katrina Elsey, at leading law firm Irwin Mitchell represented the client. She said: "This was a case where evidence made it clear that the council were in the wrong. If the correct inspection procedures would have been put in place, then my client would not have been injured in the first place. This case was not about placing blame on the council, it was however about wanting the council to take responsibility for an accident which was in no way my client’s fault. I am happy the issue has been resolved and the council have taken responsibility for an incident which could so easily have been prevented."
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