What Is The Legal Height Of A Trip Hazard UK And When Could I Claim For A Tripping Accident?

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 19th March 2024. If you have been injured by a tripping hazard because another party breached their duty of care, then you may be eligible to claim compensation. You may be asking “What is the legal height of a trip hazard in the UK?” or if such a thing can even be applied to injury claims.

In this guide, we will discuss the eligibility requirements for claiming for injuries caused by a tripping hazard. This includes tripping accidents either at a workplace or in a public space. We’ll also discuss how a tripping hazard may be defined by local authorities that manage a public area, and the duty of care owed to you in certain situations.

Potential compensation payouts and the benefits of claiming with a No Win No Fee solicitor are also covered in our guide. There are many benefits to working with a solicitor on your claim, such as assistance with gathering evidence to strengthen your case. 

If you would like to learn more, read on, or contact our team of expert advisors today by:

Cartoon of a man tripping over a floor hazard

Select A Section

  1. What Is The Legal Height Of A Trip Hazard In The UK?
  2. Who Could Make A Claim For Injuries Caused By A Tripping Hazard?
  3. What Is The Legal Height Of A Trip Hazard UK? – Council Responsibility For Pavements
  4. How Long Do You Have To Claim Against A Council For A Tripping Accident?
  5. Compensation Payouts For Injuries Caused By A Trip Hazard
  6. What Evidence Could Help Me Receive Slip, Trip or Fall Compensation?
  7. Make A No Win No Fee Claim For Injuries Caused By A Trip Hazard In The UK
  8. More Information On The Pavement Trip Hazard Height

What Is The Legal Height Of A Trip Hazard In The UK?

In law, there is no legal height defined for a pavement trip hazard. The criteria for a pavement defect that is actionable will vary between local authorities. However, many local authorities won’t consider a pavement defect actionable unless it is at least 1-inch (25mm, 2.5cm) high or deep. We’ll explain how to demonstrate the height of a trip hazard later on.

You can’t claim just because you tripped over the hazard. You must be able to demonstrate that it caused you to be injured. For this reason, you should attend A&E or book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible after the accident occurred. Not only will this provide a basis for your claim, but it will also ensure that you get the medical attention needed for your injuries. 

While the hazard height is a crucial aspect, you would also need to demonstrate that the hazard was created by third-party negligence. This could involve, for instance, evidence showing that the local council did not monitor the public park correctly.

For free claims advice on how to proceed with your pavement trip claim, please get in touch with our specialists today.

Who Could Make A Claim For Injuries Caused By A Tripping Hazard? 

It’s important to note that you cannot claim for just identifying a tripping hazard, and not all accidents caused by a trip hazard will result in a successful compensation claim. This is because your case must meet certain criteria in order to be valid, meaning you must be able to prove that:

  • You were owed a duty of care
  • This duty was breached
  • You were injured as a result of this breach 

This also determines who you make your claim against. For example, for tripping hazards in the workplace, such as trailing wires and cluttered walkways, you would claim against your employer. This is because they owe you a duty of care and must take all reasonably practicable steps to keep you safe in the workplace, according to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA).

However, if you are in a public space and trip over a pavement or dislodged paving stone, then your claim may be made against the local council. This is because they are the controller of that space, and as such, owe you a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 (OLA).

If another party breaches their duty of care towards you, and you are injured as a result, then you may be able to claim personal injury compensation. Contact our team for more information.

What Is The Legal Height Of A Trip Hazard UK? – Council Responsibility For Pavements

If a pavement is in a public area which the local council is responsible for, then that council is responsible for the maintenance of the pavement.

Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980) provides that the highway authority is under a duty to maintain the highway. It is the duty of the highway authority to maintain the road in such a state of repair as to be passable in safety at all seasons of the year.

Under their duty of care, councils should maintain pavements they’re responsible for by carrying out work such as replacing broken or missing slabs and removing weeds when required. Also, to help fulfil this duty, councils will usually carry out regular inspections every year of roads and pavements to identify which ones need the most maintenance. Just how frequent these pavement inspections are can vary from council to council.

That said, you may be wondering, ‘What is the legal height of a trip hazard in the UK when inspecting pavements?’. As mentioned before, there is no specific legal height that defines a pavement trip hazard.

Councils may also respond to public reports about issues with local pavements. An online Government page allows residents in England and Wales to report problems with a pavement directly to their council.

For more advice on whether you may have grounds to claim against a council for breaching their responsibilities following a pavement trip accident, contact our advisors for free today.

How Long Do You Have To Claim Against A Council For A Tripping Accident?

In accordance with the Limitation Act 1980, there is a three-year time limit for starting a personal injury claim against a council. This usually starts from the date your injury occurred. However, the time limit can work differently under certain circumstances.

If the injured party lacks the mental capacity to start their own claim, then the time limit will be frozen indefinitely. While the time limit is frozen, a litigation friend could start a claim against the council on behalf of the person who has been harmed. If, however, the party later regains this mental capacity and a claim has not been made, then they will have three years to start a claim from the day of recovery.

If a child has been injured, then the time limit for starting a claim against the council will be put on hold until their 18th birthday. A litigation friend could start a claim on the child’s behalf before they reach this age. Otherwise, the child will have three years to start their own claim from the date of their 18th birthday.

For more advice on the requirements for claiming for a trip hazard, the meaning of the term or other related matters, get in touch with our advisors for free today.

Compensation Payouts For Injuries Caused By A Trip Hazard

If your employer were to breach their duty of care you could be injured due to a trip hazard, meaning you could be owed compensation.

Following a successful personal injury claim, your compensation settlement could consist of general and special damages. General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have endured due to being injured by a workplace trip hazard. To help give you a clearer idea of how much you could receive in general damages for your injury, we have provided the following table. The amounts listed have been taken from the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG is a document used by various legal professionals to help them value claims, as it lists compensation brackets for different injuries.

Compensation is awarded on a case-by-case basis, so please only use this table as a guide. Also note that the first entry in this table is an estimated figure that is not based on the JCG.

Injury Severity Detailed Information Compensation (Range)
Multiple Serious Injuries With Special Damages Serious If you are claiming for multiple serious injuries caused by a tripping hazard, then your compensation claim may cover all of these plus related special damages, such as the cost of home care. Up to £250,000+
Back Injury Severe (i) The spinal cord and nerve roots will be damaged, leading to severe pain and disability. £91,090 to £160,980
Knee Injury Severe (ii) A leg fracture that has extended into the knee joint and causes permanent pain with limited movement. £52,120 to £69,730
Arm Injury Injuries Resulting in Permanent and Substantial Disablement Serious fractures to one or both forearms £39,170 to £59,860
Pelvis and Hips Injuries Moderate (i) A significant pelvis or hip injury that doesn’t result in a major disability. £26,590 to £39,170
Achilles Tendon Injury Serious Complete division of the tendon has repaired successfully but there is residual weakness £24,990 to £30,090
Ankle Injury Moderate Ligamentous tears or fractures that make it difficult to walk on uneven ground with awkwardness on stairs. £13,740 to £26,590
Neck Injury Moderate (ii) The claimant will be left with serious limited movement, discomfort, stiffness or permanent pain due to a wrenching type or soft-tissue injury. £13,740 to £24,990
Foot Injury Moderate Continuing symptoms and a permanent deformity caused by displaced metatarsal fractures. £13,740 to £24,990
Leg Injury Less Serious (iii) A tibia or fibula fracture or soft tissue injury that causes some minor ongoing symptoms. Up to £11,840

Special damages compensate you for the financial losses you have suffered due to your injury. Some of the financial closes you could claim under special damages include:

You will need to provide evidence of these losses in order to receive compensation for them. Payslips, bank statements, and invoices could all be used as evidence in your claim.

Contact our advisors today to discuss your particular claim. Our advisors could also help answer questions such as, ‘what is a tripping hazard, and how could my employer be liable if I am injured because of one?’

What Evidence Could Help Me Receive Slip, Trip or Fall Compensation?

Slip, trip and fall claims revolve around proving that your injury was the result of third-party negligence. To do this, you will need sufficient evidence. You need to be able to create a causal link between the council’s negligence, for instance, and your injury. Evidence that you could use includes:

  • Photographs of your injury and the pavement defect. Photographs of the scene are particularly important as your potential claim revolves around showing that the pavement defect goes above the legal height for a trip hazard.
  • Contact details of any witnesses. As part of the claims process, your solicitor can contact them to take statements.
  • CCTV footage of the incident. This can give a clearer idea of how the accident occurred.
  • A log of the accident report if you have reported the incident. This can help confirm the time, location and date that it took place.
  • Doctor’s notes. A medical professional will assess your injury as part of receiving medical treatment. Their notes can be used to show the extent of the injury. Other medical evidence you could use includes copies of any medical scans.

If you have other queries about trip and fall claims, please contact our team of advisors for a free consultation using the details above.

Broken bricks in a pavement

Make A No Win No Fee Claim For Injuries Caused By A Trip Hazard In The UK

If you’ve been injured by tripping on a hazard that should not have been there or should have been signposted, you may be eligible to claim compensation. A lawyer from our panel could assist you in making a personal injury claim on a No Win No Fee basis under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under this arrangement, you would not have to pay them any fees for their work upfront or during the course of your claim.

Furthermore, if your claim does not end in compensation, you would not have to pay them for their work.

If your claim is successful, your lawyer will deduct a small percentage from your compensation. This is known as a success fee, and the percentage one can be is legally capped.

To see if you could be eligible to work with a lawyer from our panel, you can contact our advisors. They can also help answer any questions you may have about personal injury claims being made due to trip hazards.

You can reach an advisor today by:

More Information On The Legal Height Of a Trip Hazard

This is the final section of our guide, so we have added some links to resources that may come in handy. If you would like any more information about claiming, please contact our team on the number above.

  • Broken Bones – An NHS article that gives advice to help you work out if you have broken a bone.
  • The Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents – ROSPA are a UK charity that is working towards a world free of accidents.
  • Local Authority Complaints – Information from the Local Government and Social Care ombudsman on how to raise formal complaints.
  • To show what other types of accidents we can help with, please take a look at some of the guides below.
  • Local Authority Claims  – For more information about making a claim against a local authority or council, please read our guide. 
  • Slip, Trip or Fall Claims  – If you’d like more general advice around slip, trip and fall claims, then this guide may be helpful to you.
  • Doormat Slip, Trip and Fall Claims  – It’s not just pavement defects that can cause injuries through slips and trips. Read our guide for information on claiming for an accident caused by a doormat.
  • Most Common Public Place Accidents – In this guide you can find out about the different types of public place accidents if you find that this page doesn’t match what happened to you.

Thank you for reading our guide on the legal height of a trip hazard. If you would like to learn more about the trip hazard height or have further questions, please contact us for free legal advice using the details above.