You and the Law – 2nd November 2010

Shifting sands

Nearly two years ago my husband, who is 75, had a bad fall on the forecourt
of our local supermarket and had to have an operation for a broken hip.
The store is now saying sand was put on the ice before the accident, whereas
my husband and a witness say this was only done after he fell.

We have now paid £150.00 for a barrister’s advice, but our solicitor says we
don’t have much chance of compensation.  MB

Obviously I don’t have all the details, but if you have an independent
witness you have a head start!  It’s rare for any case to be totally clear-cut, and where opposing facts are presented the judge will have to decide.

The judge is likely to take the word of an independent witness before that
of interested parties however.  Wait to hear from the barrister, but bear in mind that proceedings must be issued within the three-year limit.

Traffic island

The council has been putting in a pedestrian crossing outside my shop, and
customers have been unable to park while the work has been going on.  It’s
made a huge impact on my business turnover. 
Am I entitled to any compensation? I did ask them to make provision for cars to park opposite, but they ignored my request.  JK

It depends whether the highway authority was carrying out “necessary” repair and maintenance work.  If the work, or the way it was carried out, was not necessary, the authority may be liable to pay compensation to occupiers of neighbouring property physically affected by it.  The installation of a pedestrian crossing would probably be regarded as part
of the authority’s essential repair and maintenance programme.

You could submit a claim for your lost profits, but a crossing is likely to
be seen as necessary since it is in the public interest.  I suggest you
discuss this with the council.

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