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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48176
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We have had a claim made against us alleging a member of the

Customer Question

we have had a claim made against us alleging a member of the public fell on the public highway and pulled a muscle in their arm and are now seeking compensation via a no win no fee lawyer. the local authority refuted the claim, they have now come to us stating it was the small picket fence we erected around our boundary that caused the prolem of the paving slab being loose. it is now 7 months since the erection of the fence and the alledged fall. in error we were not insured we thought the insurance was on automatic renewal but it was not. we are insured now. i am saying the extreme rainy weather could have caused the rain to wash away soil that the slab was lying on therefore causing the slab to be a trip hazard. we have instructed a solicitor but he seems to be saying we are at fault because when we removed the weeds on our boundary it would have allowed movement of the slab.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello has a court claim actually been made and also what are your specific questions about this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben
No it has not gone to court yet we are awaiting evidence from the lawyers concerned with evidence that we are responsible. we are refuting their claim still saying it is the local authority's responsibility. How can we be held responsible for a paving slab to be a trip hazard when we have not moved the slab, only removed the weeds from our boundary before erecting the fence. Our lawyer is saying that our weeds would have held the slab steadfast.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have attached some photos that may be of assistance.
scan 0039: 0040: 0041 were taken by the local authority after they received the claim showing the picket fence and the area so concerned. Out of interest the council have now tarmacked the said area.Scan 0042 was enhanced from a photo we took in march 2014 while we were still working on the property. Scan 0043 was taken also in march 2014 before the fence was erected.in October 2014.
Scan 0044 was the photo sent by the lawyers of the alleged trip hazard. Scan oo45 showing the property after we purchased it in February 2014. Scan 0046 is the letter we received from the lawyers after they received our letter refusing to accept responsibility.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ben how can we prove it is the local authority's responsibility.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you and sorry I was in a meeting by the time you replied. As the potential claim will be made against you it would be for the claimant to show that you were at fault in the circumstances. It is not for you to prove that you were not at fault, rather for them to show that you were. To be responsible for this, it must be shown that your actions had caused the trip hazard and that this posed a reasonably foreseeable danger to the users of the footpath. Whether your actions had caused such a hazard is really a question of fact – they either did or they didn’t. It is a question of causation – but for the work you carried out, would the slab have moved in the way it did and create a trip hazard? There is unfortunately no exact science to determining this and it may eventually come down to a judge masking an informed decision based on the evidence they have, such as photos. Your best way of trying to defend this at resent is to perhaps get someone who is experienced in this field, and I am talking about maintenance people, builders, etc who would be able to give an opinion as to whether removing the weeds would have caused a structural imbalance that would have moved the slab. So the fact that you did not touch the slab does not automatically make you innocent. If your actions had led to its movement, you could still have liability. You have already received legal advice that you may have some liability here so to try and refute that I suggest you get someone dealing with structural or building repairs who could provide an opinion as to whether it was likely that the construction of the fence could have caused the slab to eventually move. In the meantime you may still want to try and negotiate over a settlement. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ben
Thank you very much we will attempt to obtain a structural engineer;s opinion. Rosemary.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome, all the best