Trips and falls in Norwich lead to £50,000 compensation bill for the council

Norwich City Council paid out more than £50,000 in compensation last year after trips and falls in t

Norwich City Council paid out more than £50,000 in compensation last year after trips and falls in the city. - Credit: Archant

More than £50,000 in compensation was paid out to nine pedestrians who tripped over while walking around Norwich last year, new figures have revealed.

And Norwich City Council officers have warned that, if City Hall budgets continue to be squeezed, then pavements could deteriorate further.

Of the 49 claims involving pedestrians tripping or falling which were finalised in the past 12 months, the city council defended 40 of them. But nine people were paid compensation - totalling £52.427.

That was up on the previous year. In 2012/13 32 claims were finalised and, while 26 resulted in no payment, six people who tripped shared £26,887 in compensation. The figures include legal fees.

The council said no figures were available for how many people had tripped or fallen, so the claims are only an indication of the scale of the problem.

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The issue was discussed by the city council's scrutiny committee yesterday.

According to the council, the main reasons for insurance claims were uneven slabs, pot-holes and manhole covers. There were no claims for people slipping on wet leaves or ice.

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The council said: 'Injuries sustained are usually relatively minor, such as cuts and bruises, occasionally sprained wrists or ankles and, very occasionally, a broken bone.

'Of course, any injury is distressing for the individual and their family and can have other implications.'

The council said that the amount of money to pay on maintenance was limited and had to be prioritised, so it was not possible to provide a 'perfect surface' over the whole network. In the next 12 months £92,000 is due to be spent on kerbs and footways.

Council officers said: 'There is perhaps a gap between expectation and what can be delivered.'

They said there was 'no immediate cause for concern', but warned: 'However, limited capital investment in the future could lead to an overall deterioration of the asset. This will put further pressure on revenues and budgets, and difficulties meeting customer expectations.

'The city council will continue to work with the county council to maximise the effectiveness of any expenditure, and also to maintain or increase highway maintenance funding in the city where possible.'

• Have you made a successful compensation claim against a local council? Tell us your story by calling reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375.

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