Ms Clare Fairclough, a stay at home mother with 5 children, has been awarded £13,012.50 after a hole in the pavement left by a utility company caused her to fall and break her ankle.
On the morning of her son’s birthday on the 16th April 2011, Ms Fairclough took her son out on his brand new stunt scooter to the small green across the road from her house. Ms Fairclough held onto the scooter with both hands, allowing her son to balance and move around.
As they reached the opposite side of the green, the front wheel of the scooter slipped into a hole and hit the concrete paving slab in front of it. This caused the scooter to tip, and although her son was able to get off the scooter with no problems, the tip caused Ms Fairclough to lose her balance.
At the time of the accident, Ms Fairclough was 19 weeks pregnant and so tried to prevent herself from landing on her stomach. As a result of this, she leaned back, putting all of the weight onto her left leg and she heard something snap. Her partner saw her fall from the house and ran over to help her get back to the house, but Ms Fairclough was in so much pain that she had to sit down and wait whilst her partner called an ambulance.
Once the ambulance arrived 5 minutes later, Ms Fairclough was given gas and air for the pain. She was taken to Wythenshawe Accident and Emergency department to have her left leg x-rayed, which showed that she had broken both her left ankle and the large bone at the top of her leg. Ms Fairclough was taken into surgery the next day to have three screws placed in her ankle.
Ms Fairclough was discharged from hospital 5 days later, but was told it could take up to 5 months for her to be able to walk again and that she may require physiotherapy. Although she was 19 weeks pregnant at the time of the accident, her baby arrived 8 weeks early because of a ruptured placenta. Doctors were unable to confirm or deny whether this was because of her fall.
In the time that followed, Ms Fairclough was prescribed paracetamol, morphine and codine for the pain. Around September/October of 2011, Ms Fairclough began experiencing shooting pains in her left leg and went back to the hospital for more x-rays. These x-rays showed that not only were the screws drilling into her bone, but that the bone had grown over the screws and that the only way to remove them would be to shave the bone. Ms Fairclough was advised to leave the metal work in place.
Even over 12 months after the accident, Ms Fairclough still experiences difficulty with her ankle. When moving downstairs or kneeling or crouching, she experiences aches and pains, and finds that poor weather can make her entire leg feel dead and achy.
The hole in the ground was caused by a utility company that had performed maintenance on the road by removing a small drain cover and failing to fill it in properly after they had finished. The council also failed to spot the hole.
Throughout the claim, the defence asked Ms Fairclough to prove that the accident happened as she described it, but she was able to provide good evidence in court and thanks to the determination and hard work of Sarah Moore Partner at Express Solicitors, the Judge agreed that the accident happened as Ms Fairclough said on 27th June 2013 and awarded her £13,012.50 in compensation.
If you have suffered from a slip or trip in public that was through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For free legal advice from a Public Liability solicitor and help with making your claim, call Express Solicitors on 0845 456 4007.