When you go for a walk, visit the shops, or take your children to school, you expect to be able to get to where you’re going without being injured. Of course, that’s usually what happens. However, on some occasions, accidents and injuries can happen because of open drains, missing manhole covers or broken pavements.
Sometimes, problems occur when local councils take too long to repair defects or damage to manhole covers and broken drain covers. Other times, gas, water, or electric utility companies either do not put up barriers when work is in progress or they do not replace the manhole or drain covers correctly after their work is done. Regardless of the reason, if you are injured because of any type of drain and manhole cover accident that was due to no fault of yours, you may be entitled to compensation.
We are specialists in personal injury claims and will provide free legal advice on your options during a no-obligation telephone consultation. While you don’t have to proceed to a claim, we could provide a personal injury solicitor from our team if your case appears to be suitable. Our experienced solicitors could help make your claim less risky by providing a No Win No Fee service. That means that if your case is taken on, you will only need to pay for your solicitor’s work if they win compensation for you.
If you’d like to discuss what your options are you can call our advisors on 0800 6524 881. If you’d like more advice about making a manhole or drain cover accident claim before calling, please read on.
Table of contents
- I Was Injured By A Manhole/Drain Cover, Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation?
- Who Is Responsible For Maintaining Manhole And Drain Covers?
- Evidence To Support Your Compensation Claim
- Common Causes Of Drain And Manhole Cover Compensation Claims
- Common Injuries From Drain And Manhole Accidents
- How Much Compensation For Drain & Manhole Accident Claims
- Time Limits For Claiming Personal Injury Compensation
- Using A Personal Injury Solicitor For Drain & Manhole Cover Accident Claims
To establish whether you have a valid claim if you’ve been injured due to a manhole cover/drain cover, a personal injury solicitor will need to make some checks during your initial consultation. They will need to verify whether:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care; and
- Through their negligence an accident happened; and
- Because of the accident, you suffered an injury.
The first step will usually be to identify who is responsible for your accident. Once that has been established, the solicitor can then advise whether a compensation claim is worth pursuing.
In many cases, drains and manholes on public highways are the responsibility of the local water authority/sewerage company, or local council. They’ll be responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing manhole and drain covers on public property such as streets, pavements, and parks. Other utility companies or other agencies might also be responsible so it’s worth checking on the cover for any indication as to what service is beneath.
If the manhole or drain is located on privately-owned land, the owner or occupier of the property is usually responsible for making sure they are covered with a properly fitting cover and for conducting repairs and replacement when necessary, such as replacing a broken drain cover in the garden.
In the section that follows, we’ll provide information on what you can do to help prove liability for any personal injuries caused by missing or damaged manhole and drain covers.
If you decide to proceed with a personal injury claim, evidence is going to be needed to show a) how the accident occurred, b) the party responsible, and c) the injuries you’ve sustained. The types of information you could use to support your compensation claim include:
- Photographic evidence. Use your phone to safely take pictures from all angles to capture the broken drain/manhole cover. If necessary, use a ruler to show the height or width of any defect that’s caused you to fall. If the owner details of the manhole or drain cover are identifiable, try to capture this too.
- Witness details. Ask any witnesses to your accident for their details. At a later date, your solicitor may need to ask them for a statement about what they saw.
- Camera footage. If your accident happened in an area covered by security cameras, you’re entitled to ask for a copy of any CCTV footage. If there were no cameras on the street, it might be worth checking if any residential or shop cameras caught the incident.
- Medical evidence. You should always visit a minor injuries unit, your GP, or a hospital following a fall. If you decide to seek damages later, you could ask for a copy of your medical records to help prove what injuries you sustained and what treatment was required.
- Financial evidence. As we’ll explain later, you could be entitled to claim for any costs you incur because of your injuries. Therefore, keep hold of any receipts or other relevant documents.
As part of your free consultation, your claims advisor will review any evidence you’ve already managed to secure. They’ll explain whether you have enough to take action already or whether anything else is required.
To start the claims process right away, please get in touch with our team of specialists today.
Let’s look now at some common causes of drain/manhole cover accidents that may entitle you to claim compensation if they caused you to suffer an injury.
- Raised drain covers. A claim might be possible if you tripped and fell because a drain cover hasn’t been closed properly.
- Missing manhole covers. Falls into a void caused by missing manhole covers can be particularly dangerous and cause serious injuries. If it can be shown that a utility company was aware the cover was missing or forgot to replace it after working in the area, a claim could be possible.
- Rusted manhole covers. Where a manhole cover becomes rusty, it can become weaker. If you stand on a rusty manhole cover that collapses, you could suffer cuts and lacerations that put you at risk of contracting tetanus.
- Collapsed drains. Drains should be regularly inspected to ensure they are safe. If that hasn’t happened and you step on a drain cover that collapses, you could claim for any subsequent injuries.
We are happy to review your manhole or drain cover accident to see if you’re entitled to be compensated. Please get in touch for your free consultation.
There are so many injuries possible from broken or faulty drain covers and manholes that it’s not possible to list each one here. However, some common examples include:
- Achilles tendon injuries.
- Cuts and lacerations.
- Leg injuries.
- Foot injuries.
- Broken ankles.
- Spinal injuries.
Don’t worry if we’ve not listed your injury here, you could still be eligible to claim. Importantly, as well as any physical injuries, your claim could also include any psychological damage caused as well.
The exact amount you can claim for in a manhole or drain cover accident will vary depending on several different factors, including what injuries have resulted from the accident and how severe they are. For example, somebody who has fallen down a drain but only suffered a slightly sprained ankle would almost certainly receive less compensation than somebody who tripped on a damaged manhole cover but suffered a broken leg.
The amount of compensation you would claim for a drain/manhole accident will be based on two elements:
- Pain, suffering and loss of amenity. This part of the claim is called general damages. Loss of amenity involves putting a value on hobbies or things you can’t enjoy while you’re injured.
- Financial costs, losses or expenses. The special damages element of your claim could recover any lost earnings, medical costs, or costs for replacing items damaged during your accident.
Importantly, you may need a medical assessment as part of the personal injury claims process. This will be arranged for you and usually be conducted locally by an independent medical expert.
In this section, we’ve added a compensation calculator so you can see what settlement amounts could be paid for your injuries.
The amounts are currently advised in the Judicial College Guidelines for general damages. The same document is used by courts and legal professionals when determining what compensation to award.
As you may be aware, personal injury claims in the UK have time limits. For most injuries caused by drain and manhole covers, you’ll have 3-years to claim from the date of your accident.
An exception to this rule is where you’re claiming on behalf of a child. In this scenario, the 3-year limitation period won’t apply so long as you claim before their 18th birthday.
We would always suggest that it’s better to begin a claim sooner rather than later. If you leave it too late, your solicitor may not have the time to complete all of the necessary tasks before sending your claim to the defendant. Therefore, you could miss out on any compensation you may be entitled to.
To find out whether you still have the time to take action, please call today.
If you take action against a local authority, a utility company, or a householder, you’re likely to end up dealing with their insurer. If you can’t prove to them how their client caused your accident, you likely won’t be paid compensation.
We can make this process easier by providing a personal injury solicitor to represent you. We believe that can improve the chances of you being compensated correctly.
If we accept your claim, your solicitor will handle the insurance company for you. They’ll deal with all communications, queries and objections. Importantly, they’ll fight your corner to try and achieve the highest amount of compensation possible for your injuries.
We can help you start the claims process right away. Simply call our advice line on 0800 6524 881 to begin. If your case is taken on, we could appoint a No Win No Fee solicitor to start working on drain cover/manhole accident compensation claim straight away.