The Secret to Winning your Claim against the Council

It sounds straightforward, you have tripped and broken your wrist due to a raised paving flag or come off your bicycle due to a pothole in the road dislocating your elbow. You must surely have a successful claim. Why bother with a Solicitor?


Unfortunately, many of our clients have previously found out the hard way that the Council will generally turn down claims they have submitted to them.


Whilst we are happy to look into claims at any stage to maximise your chance of success please speak to us as soon as possible after your accident.


Tips to help your claim succeed




Take clear photographs of the defect as soon as possible after your accident. If you can’t get out and about due to your injuries please ask a friend or family member to do it for you. Make a note of who took the photographs, the date they were taken and keep the photographs safe.


As well as taking photographs of the pothole or broken paving flag it is also very helpful to your claim to take photographs of the surrounding area. This will give us information about the state of repair generally, whether it is in a residential area, whether there are any schools or hospitals nearby. This can make all the difference to a successful claim.




Using a ruler or tape measure, measure the defect. The most helpful measurement is the height or depth e.g. the depth of a pot hole or the height of a raised paving flag. As a rule of thumb the defect needs to be 2 ½ cm (or an inch) high or deep on a pavement and 4cm ( almost 2 inches) to be considered a dangerous defect in the road. This isn’t an absolute requirement and Smith Jones do succeed in claims under this level. Again, please make a note of the measurement, the date taken and who took it. If you can take photographs of the defect clearly showing the measurement.


See a Doctor


If you have not yet seen your GP or been to the Hospital and you have injuries please do so as soon as possible. They are obviously best placed to advise and give any treatment required plus your injury will be documented in your medical notes which helps your claim succeed. Please tell the Doctor clearly what happened. If the accident is not accurately recorded in your medical notes it can cause all sorts of difficulties with your claim.


Did anyone See You Fall?


If you can please get the name, address and phone number of anyone who was with you or saw you fall and keep those details safe. The Council require you to prove you fell as you say you did. It makes your claim a lot easier if we can send confirmation to the Council from someone who actually saw you fall.


Can Anyone Confirm How Long The Defect Has Been There?


This can make all the difference to the success of a claim. You can assist your claim by asking locally if anyone can help. Quite often people will volunteer that their neighbour has also fallen there or that they have complained to the Council in the past but nothing has been done. This information can be crucial. Please don’t be shy and ask for their name, address and phone number.


Instruct a Specialist Solicitor


Get in touch with Smith Jones as soon after your accident as possible for expert advice to maximise your chances of success against the Council. Smith Jones Solicitors are specialists in personal injury and accidents and are committed to winning your case and getting you the maximum compensation. We are recognised by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers as an Accredited Practice.