If you have had a tripping accident on the public footpath or highway it is important to try and obtain good quality photographs showing the height of the trip as soon as possible before any repairs are carried out. You should also measure the height of the trip with a steel tape or a good ruler.
A steel tape is better as with a lot of rulers there is usually a tip at the end which is not included in the scale on the ruler. Most people believe that if there is a significant defect in the footpath or road surface then they should have a good claim. Local authorities do, however, have a defence under the Highways Act if they can show that they maintained a regular system of inspection and repair. Often the authority will claim that when they carried out their inspection several months prior to the date of the fall no defect was found and that they are therefore not liable for any defect which may have developed in the meantime.
Although the defect may look as if it had been present for a long time before the date of the accident, this can be very difficult to prove. There are ways of challenging the local authority but it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible before even notifying the local authority of your fall. I would always prefer that my Clients contact me first of all so that if necessary I can inspect the accident scene before any repairs are carried out.
Where members of the public fall inside a supermarket or store the outcome of the claim will usually depend on what records of inspection and cleaning the store keep as to whether or not you will succeed in your claim. Where you have had a fall in a supermarket or store you should immediately inform management of your fall so that they may note it in their accident book. They may otherwise deny that you had any accident in their store.
The position is, therefore, different where you have fallen on the public footpath or highway as opposed to having fallen in a supermarket or store. My recommendation is that you seek legal advice first before notifying the local authority but if you have fallen in a supermarket or store you should immediately notify management as soon as you possibly can.