The claimant in this case was injured when they tripped and fell as a result of stepping on to an uneven pathway at a railway station, with a large dip being disguised by a heavy build-up of debris.
The council denied liability on the basis that the path was actually a public right of way across the station for which no one owed a positive duty to maintain. The railway station also denied liability on the basis that it only owned the land on either side of the path, not the path itself.
We had to issue court proceedings in arguing that the railway station was liable for (a) failing to clear the debris from the land either side of the path, which would have revealed the uneven path; and (b) for the original construct of the path which was defective, as the uneven area would not have existed had the path been built in accordance with the original plans from the 1970’s.
The railway station company did eventually concede that it was at considerable risk of losing the case and subsequent negotiations resulted in a favourable settlement being achieved which reflected the injuries sustained by the claimant.
However, this claim was only won as a result of 2 years of legal representation against 2 defendants. It is highly likely that, without early legal advice and representation, this claim would never have succeeded and that is why it is so important for access to legal advice to be maintained. It is such a shame that the government, and its insurance buddies (who have to pay the compensation in these claims), don’t agree. Instead they paint injured claimants as ‘money-grabbing’ and their lawyers as ‘greedy’ in order to get public support for reform after reform which makes it harder for members of the public to bring claims, ensures that their compensation is reduced and prevents them from finding legal representation as easily.