Personal Injury

£80,000 damages for 73-year-old woman who suffered broken shoulder in trip over broken paving stone outside shop


Jane Woodcock

Consultant Lawyer

5 min read time

Hudgell Solicitors have secured £80,000 compensation for a 73-year-old woman who suffered a broken shoulder when tripping on a broken and raised paving stone outside a city retail store.

The settlement comes as the woman has endured continuing residual problems with her shoulder since the accident in 2020. It has left her struggling to do any basic tasks such as shopping and jobs around the home including making meals, ironing and stripping and washing bedding.

Following the accident the woman’s daughter had to move into her home to provide care for six months, helping her wash, shower and go to the toilet, as well as preparing all her meals and ensure she was able to take her medication.

She continues to do many of her mother’s tasks today, 18 months since the accident, as the injury has left her unconfident, reluctant to go out alone and hesitant on her feet.

Legal case saw liability for injuries admitted by retailer

A personal injury compensation claim was pursued against the retail operator, which owned the forecourt area directly outside the store.

Full liability was admitted and insurers acting on behalf of the business agreed to pay for a specialist chair and bed to help our client live more comfortably at home, as well as agreeing to the £80,000 damages settlement.

Jane Woodcock, head of personal injury at Hudgell Solicitors, explained that the settlement included a significant claim for the past care provided by the woman’s daughter, who dedicated around 60 hours a week to looking after her mother for six months.

The claim also included costs for the woman’s future care needs, linked to the injury she suffered in the fall.

Mrs Woodcock said it was a case ‘with no winners’ and highlighted the need for businesses to review their responsibilities to protect people visiting their premises and in particular ensure any dangerous surfaces are addressed.

“There are no winners in cases like this because our client suffered an injury which has really impacted on her enjoyment of life and reduced her independence,” she said.

“In terms of this type of case the financial settlement is significant and we were very pleased to have been able to secure this amount for her, but of course she’d much rather be able to turn the clock back and not have suffered the injury at all.

“There are no doubt hundreds, possibly thousands of incidents across the country each and every day in which people trip when out shopping, and certainly not every incident can or will result in a successful claim because each claim is specific on its facts and in terms of whether there is sufficient evidence for legal liability to be established.

“However, when serious injuries such as this happen, and pavements are found to have been left in a clearly unfit and dangerous state, it is only right that those with responsibility are held to account, and that those who suffer significant injuries are offered a route to compensation.

“In this case the defendants admitted liability quickly, which avoided the need for the matter to go to court, and they offered rehabilitation assessments and to pay for equipment to make life more comfortable for our client. That was much appreciated by all.”

‘Tripping’ injury cases judged on case by case basis

Mrs Woodcock says there is a fine balance between assessing ‘real danger’ and ‘everyday risk’ when considering such cases.

“The reality is that, be it privately owned land or a local authority footpath or forecourt, in order to establish liability there needs to be more than a minor defect or blemish,” she said.

“There is recognition by judges and the courts, quite rightly, that the legal duties of local authorities or owners/occupiers of land over which the public have access must be measured on a reasonable basis and this will include consideration of factors such as resources, location, the nature and size of the defect and crucially whether the defendant reasonably had knowledge of the danger.

“However, this does not mean that public authorities and occupiers can fail to address obvious dangers, and each case is considered on its own facts, by our lawyers here at Hudgells and ultimately by defendants and judges.

“In this case, given the serious nature of the defect and impact of the injury suffered, we felt it was a claim which was capable of being pursued for our client.”

Accidents in Public Places Compensation Claims

We all lead busy lives, which can sometimes mean travelling to and from places and rushing around public areas every day. You should always expect that public places such as footpaths, shopping centres and parks follow safety measures to look after you on a daily basis.

And whilst this is usually the case, poor conditions could lead to an accident which is not your fault. Some examples of accidents in public places may arise from:

  • Unrepaired potholes in paths or roads
  • Wobbly paving stones
  • Missing kerbstones
  • Hazards caused by poorly undertaken road works
  • Holes left in footpaths after removal of lamp posts or other fixed features
  • Icy pavements which have not been gritted or salted
  • Poor lighting

All accidents in public places cases taken on by Hudgell Solicitors are handled on a no win no fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay any money up front and there will be no financial risk if your case is unsuccessful.

Find out more here: Accidents in Public Places

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