Cracks in the pavements of Cardiff have cost the local council almost £1.3m in personal injury compensation over the last four years. During that period, defective pavements have brought about 1,038 personal injury claims; 199 of which have been settled, 176 are ongoing and the remainder closed without compensation being awarded. Cardiff council currently spends about £1.1m per year on maintaining the city’s pavements.
Cathryn Davies, a personal injury solicitor in Cardiff, said it can be very difficult to pursue a claim for personal injuries caused by pavements. All over the UK people suffer injuries because of badly maintained pavements but it is very hard to prove, she pointed out.
The onus is on the claimant to show that the council acted negligently when it was inspecting the area where the injury happened, and that the size of the pavement defect was big enough to apportion the blame to the council. Ms. Davies said that she had demonstrated that Cardiff’s system for inspection was not reasonable and that the firm of injury solicitors she works for have a significant caseload of pavement related personal injury claims.
Meanwhile, Ken Clarke, the justice secretary has hinted that no win, no fee solicitors may be prevented from doubling their fees when they win a case. Clarke told listeners to Radio 4’s Law in Action broadcast that the coalition is thinking about adopting a similar system to the one operating in the US, where some of the legal fees are recovered from the settlement awarded on the plaintiff.