When you go outdoors, you expect to be able to walk around freely without having to worry about being injured because of open drains, missing manhole covers or broken pavements. Unfortunately, these types of accidents and resulting injuries are all too common.
Sometimes, problems occur when local county councils take too long to repair defects or damage to manhole covers and drain covers. Other times, gas, water or electric utility companies either do not put up guard rails when work is in progress or they do not replace the manhole or drain covers 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 claim compensation.
Who Is Responsible For Maintaining Manhole And Drain Covers?
The answer depends on where the manholes and drains are located.
Generally, the local water and sewage authority is responsible for maintaining, repairing and replacing manhole and drain covers on public property such as streets, pavements and parks.
If the manhole or drain is located on privately-owned land, the owner or occupier of the property is responsible for making sure they are covered with a properly fitting cover and for conducting all repairs and replacement when necessary.
Injuries Caused By Drain And Manhole Accidents
Most drain and manhole accidents are slip, trip, and fall accidents. However, because of the nature of drains and manholes, the injuries tend to be more serious than those resulting from a normal slip and trip accident on a flat surface.
People who are involved in drain and manhole accidents may suffer from a wide range of injuries, from bruises, bumps and lacerations to hand and leg fractures, spinal injuries and head trauma. The latter injuries can all have long term consequences and often require extensive long-term medical treatment, which is why it is so important to claim compensation for a drain or manhole accident to cover these expenses.
What To Do After A Manhole Cover Or Drain Cover Accident
If you are injured in a manhole cover or drain cover accident, you should seriously consider filing a compensation claim for your injuries, even if they seem minor at the time. Immediately after an accident, there is no way of telling how serious your injuries are. Some symptoms may manifest only after a few days or even after a few weeks. To safeguard your interests, there are a few things you must do immediately after the accident occurs.
- Use your mobile phone and get plenty of photographs covering all angles of the accident site. The photographs should highlight the faulty manhole or drain cover that caused your injury, whether it was an open drain or a loose, defective or broken cover.
- Get the names and contact details of anybody around who saw what happened. Getting statements from witness can do a lot to strengthen your drain cover accident claim and help you get the compensation due to you.
- Get medical attention at the earliest. Don’t forego medical attention because your injuries seem minor. You need to get a thorough check up to determine the extent of your visible and invisible injuries.
- Retain all receipts of your medical treatment and your travel to and from the hospital. This serves two purposes – it acts as proof of your injuries and it ensures that you will be compensated for the cost of your treatment.
Important Points To Bear In Mind
- Do not immediately accept any settlement from an insurance company. In most cases, you will get a call from the insurance company offering you compensation for your injuries. This may sound very tempting at first but what you should know is that they are simply offering you this money to dissuade you from pursuing a claim. In most cases, the amount offered will be just a fraction of what you could actually be awarded if you filed a legal manhole compensation claim.
- There is a 3-year time limit for filing personal injury claims. You must file your injury claim in court before this 3 year limit. The court will not accept the claim if it is filed after this deadline and you risk forfeiting the money that is due to you. It takes time to gather the necessary evidence and put together a strong case so don’t wait too long to get started. Some exceptions may apply.
- Get advice from a solicitor as to how you should proceed with your claim. Hiring a personal injury solicitor to represent you will boost your chances of winning your case as compared to fighting the claim on your own. Our personal injury solicitors have access to medical experts and extensive legal libraries that they can leverage to support your claim. This is something you will not be able to do on your own.
- You do not have to pay any legal fees at the outset to have our personal injury solicitors represent you. To make it easier for accident victims to get the compensation that is legally due to them, many personal injury solicitors (ours included) waive their consultation fees. Instead, we represent clients on a No Win No Fee basis, which allows you to benefit from our legal expertise without worrying about any upfront fees. According to the terms of the agreement, you are only required to pay a fee if your claim is successful. The exact amount to be paid is settled by both parties at the time of signing the contract.
How Much Compensation For A Manhole/ Drain Cover Injury?
The exact amount you can claim for in a manhole or drain cover accident may vary depending on several different factors, including what injuries have resulted from the accident and how severe they are. As a guide you can use the injury compensation calculator below to see typical compensations amounts claimed for varying injuries.
In general you will also be able to claim for all of your medical expenses. This includes the initial diagnosis and treatment, the travel expenses associated with your medical treatment, and the cost of long term treatment such as physiotherapy or counselling.
You can also claim for any changes you need to make in your home such as support railings and wheelchair ramps if you are unable to move around independently or for full-time care at home if necessary.
Any loss of earnings will also be taken into consideration. This includes all wages docked from being absent from work as well as lost perks and promotional avenues. If your injuries force you to stay away from work indefinitely, you may also be eligible to claim for projected loss of earnings. Our solicitors will consider all of these factors when proposing the amount of compensation that you should be awarded for your drain and manhole injuries.