The Court of Appeal has upheld the compensation award of a woman who injured her ankle when she tripped on a footpath outside her home.
Louise Bell, 49, brought a claim for compensation against the London Borough of Havering. She told the County Court that she had tripped on a four-inch depression in the pavement where a tree had been removed. As a result of the accident, she broke her ankle and required surgery to insert, and later remove, metal plates and screws. She was absent from work for six months.
Havering Council had initially admitted liability for the accident. Later, however, it withdrew the admission and sought to persuade the Court that Ms Bell was responsible for her injuries. Amongst other things, it argued that she had actually tripped over her dog and fallen down stairs at her home. However, the judge accepted Ms Bell’s version of events, which was supported by witness evidence, and decided that the Council bore two thirds of the liability for her injuries.
The Council appealed against this decision but the Appeal Court judge saw no reason to overturn the judgment and ruled that Ms Bell should receive damages as directed by the lower court. The exact amount of the compensation award will be decided at a future hearing, but it is thought that it will be a substantial sum.