Accident compensation for injury caused by manhole covers

Accidents Involving Manhole Covers

The image of a man disappearing down an open manhole has long been a favourite subject of cartoonists. However if you are unlucky enough to fall victim to this kind of preventable accident then it is most certainly anything but a joke.
Accidents involving manhole covers are more common than you might imagine simply because there are thousands of them throughout our towns, villages and cities. You may have an image of a pedestrian falling down a hole where a cover should be but open, damaged or insecure manholes are extremely dangerous for all road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles. In addition, the damage they do can be extensive in some cases.

Injury to Man and Machine

Whether a person falls through an open manhole or simply trips on a damaged or insecure cover, the injury caused can be enough to have far-reaching consequences. We fought a case for a 64 year old lady who fell into an exposed manhole cover on a caravan sales site’s grassed area and sustained injuries to her fingers, arms, legs and torso as well as damage to her clothing. She required care and assistance following the accident and we were able to negotiate a claim settlement to take this into account.
Another claim involved that of a man who drove his car over a manhole where the cover was sitting vertically above the road surface. The ensuing jolt caused a painful lower back injury as well as damage to his car that was so serious it was not able to be driven. The injured man had to take time off work and his recovery took some 6 months. Luckily we were able to secure an amount of compensation to help mitigate his financial losses.

Types of injuries caused by faulty or uncovered manholes

The type of injuries that can be caused through falling down a manhole or tripping over a faulty cover can vary. They can range from soft tissue and ligament damage to broken bones and head injury. It is not always the immediate physical injury that people remember either; the psychological trauma and ensuing nervousness can significantly affect one’s day to day life for some time afterwards. When a vehicle hits a displaced cover or drives over a hole where the cover should be the damage here can be extensive – and expensive. Cycles can suffer buckled wheels and displaced tyres; cars often suffer wheel and suspension damage; and if a motorcyclist hits a cover the rider will be thrown off into the road and risks being hit by what’s left of the bike.

Who is Responsible for Manholes?

It is not always easy and straightforward to find out who is responsible for manhole covers. The problem is that they can be owned by any number of organisations. Some are the responsibility of local councils while some are owned by water boards, gas and electricity or other similar utility companies. But let’s face it; if you have just had the misfortune to fall down a hole and you are in pain through injury, the last thing you are going to think about is “who should I contact about this?” However a good solicitor  will take care of this for you.
The fact is that every council has a duty of care under  section 41 of The Highways Act 1980, to do whatever it is reasonable to expect them to do, to protect the public from danger arising from the Public Highways. Every private company or organisation has a similar duty of care, arising from the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, to anyone who visits their property. Someone will be responsible! 
Each company or organisation should also have in place a system of regular inspection and maintenance. Unfortunately this is where the system can sometimes fail. Inspections and maintenance are often not carried out as extensively as they should be which is why accidents occur. 

Making a Claim for Compensation 

If you’ve suffered injury or damage to a vehicle due to a manhole cover problem, the simple answer is to call the experts at Your Injury Partner, who can help set the wheels in motion to see if you have a valid claim against the organisation responsible. 

Contact your personal injury partner today and let use take the hassle out of your claim

01782 608 744
Start your claim today!