Local authorities are under a legal obligation to keep public footpaths and pavements safe for pedestrians and, if they fail in that duty, they can be ordered to compensate those who are injured as a result. In one case, a 90-year-old woman who fell over on her local high street has been awarded £11,500 in damages.
The woman suffered serious leg injuries when the wheel of her walking frame caught in a hole in the pavement. There had been several previous incidents of slipping and tripping on the same stretch of footpath and a judge found the local authority liable on the basis that the hole, although relatively modest in size, posed a foreseeable risk of injury.
The High Court rejected the council's appeal against the decision of the lower court and the amount of compensation was agreed.