Have you become a victim of falling down a manhole? Perhaps you have tripped on a raised or defective manhole? Were there no signs or preventative measures placed around or near to the manhole warning you of the defect?
If you have fallen victim to any of the above resulting in personal injury then you could pursue a claim for compensation.
A manhole is normally an access point to sewage drains and is usually found on most pavements. As such, people are walking over deep holes every time they step on to one. They should be covered by manhole rings or cover slabs but from time to time these can end up damaged and defective and result in a danger, or sometimes they may end up being removed. Manholes can be owned by either the local authority or by companies such as water or electricity boards. It is important to establish who is responsible for the area where the defect in order to establish admission of liability. Manholes can result in injuries such as broken bones and even in severe cases brain damage. Generally speaking, the more severe the injury, the higher the sum of damages you will receive.
If you fall victim to a manhole accident it is essential to obtain photographs of the defect and the surrounding area. I know this may be the last thing on your mind but photographs provide evidence and help to build your claim. This is because the authority or company owning the manhole may repair the defect not long after the accident.
It will be necessary for you to arrange a visit to a medical expert in order to assess the injuries you have received. We will use evidence from the expert to value the claim. Injuries can be very painful and debilitating and may result in you not being able to go to work – as such, losses can be claimed back if your claim is successful. It may also be essential to gather the details of any witnesses of your accident in order to support your claim.
The authority or company may owe a duty of care to protect you and the public from falling victim to such injuries under the Occupiers liability and The Highways Act 1980 – so far as is ‘reasonably practicable’. They will normally have to prove that the area is maintained and inspected regularly and provide supporting evidence in the form of records. If the records show the defect was recently inspected then it is unlikely liability will be established.
Which of the two laws apply can depend whether it’s a council or a private company responsible for the hole.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.