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Home > News > Water Authority Found Liable For Personal Injury

29th July 2008

Water Authority Found Liable For Personal Injury

Our specialist personal injury lawyers were asked to represent our client in bringing an accident claim when she was injured out walking with her husband. Although the right of way was the responsibility of the landowner, a farmer, the manhole and access was owned by the Water Authority. They had a duty of care to ensure that their property, the manhole cover, was in good repair and did not pose any risk to people using the nearby public footpath.

Personal Injury Accident On Public Right of Way

Without warning, our client’s foot went down an uncovered access point, hidden in long grass, as they were following a public right-of-way. She suffered a fractured ankle and after being admitted to hospital for several days, suffered several months of immobility with her ankle in a cast, plus developing shoulder pains brought on by the use of crutches.

The Water Authority denied liability, claiming that our client was not a visitor or an invitee, was not covered by the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, and that they therefore did not have any duty to her to inspect their land. They refused to negotiate a settlement and our specialist personal injury lawyers were forced to issue court proceedings, the case eventually went to trial.

The Trial For Personal Injury Compensation

We argued that they, the Water Authority, owed a duty to take reasonable care to see that the manhole cover did not present a risk of injury to persons using the nearby public right-of-way. At trial, there was evidence that the Water Authority had been advised of the condition of the manhole cover, which had deteriorated to such an extent that it had fallen into the access point, leaving the hole completely uncovered.

Evidence was also presented that the cover was not sufficiently robust to withstand being driven over by heavy machinery, such as farm equipment, and that it was possibly this that had caused the deterioration.

The Judge’s Ruling On Duty of Care

The Judge found for our client, stating that the Water Authority should have instigated a system of routine inspections of the manhole cover to ensure it was intact. He also found that the type of cover provided was medium duty and not sufficiently robust for the location, which required heavy farm machinery to be driven over it.

The Judge awarded our client over £8,000 in personal injury compensation.

Personal Injury Compensation Claim

Here at Clear Answers, we have extensive experience in all types of personal injury claims, including those which result from a breach of the Occupiers' Liability Act.

If you or a family member has been injured, in any sort of personal injury accident, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, you may prefer to complete one of our on-line compensation claim forms and one of our representatives will contact you as quickly as possible.

Should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your claim, Clear Answers’ lawyers have teams of specialists waiting to help you. They will be happy to talk you through the claims process in plain English, will provide you with expert legal advice, and will answer any questions you may have regarding your claim.

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