The condition of Scotland’s roads and pavements has been widely discussed in the media in recent times.  Early last year, the AA published a report referring to a ‘pandemic of potholes’, reflecting large increases in pothole related breakdowns.  Glasgow City Council reacted to this by doubling their budget for pothole repairs from £6 million to a huge £12 million in 2023.  While this might go some way to convincing the public that this problem is on its way to being fixed – although perhaps not the 13,000-strong ‘Potholes Make Glasgow’ Facebook group – even this huge increase will not eliminate potholes overnight.

Although much of the media coverage relating to the condition of Scotland’s roads and pavements revolves around damage to vehicles, this is far from the only risk that comes with failing to keep our roads in an acceptable condition.  Potholes and other damage to our roads and pavements can present dangerous tripping hazards for unsuspecting members of the public who are quite entitled to expect to be able to safely walk along their local streets.

When local authorities fail to deal with these issues, they will frequently find themselves not only looking at their bill for repairs but paying out thousands of pounds in compensation to the members of the public who have injured themselves due to these failures.  Glasgow City Council, and their local authority colleagues across Scotland, have a duty to their constituents to provide them with safe and fit-for-purpose roads and pavements.  Failing to meet this duty head-on with timely repairs not only risks injury to members of the public, but will ultimately not even save public money, as the repair will inevitably need to be carried out anyway, and the cost of compensation to any injured person will only add to that bill.

Of course, not every injury caused by a trip or slip on a public road or pavement will result in compensation being paid.  Every local authority in Scotland has in place a policy for inspecting and repairing damage to roads and pavements, although they do not always manage to successfully stick to their own policy!  For a local authority to be legally required to pay compensation for this kind of injury, the damage to the road or pavement must be something that should have already been repaired if they were following their own system of repair properly.  If they have failed to stick to their own schedule of inspection, failed to repair damage after an inspection has noticed it, or not responded to public reports of the damage, then any claim is likely to succeed.

Proving that a local authority has failed in its duty and is liable to pay compensation can be a difficult process for members of the public.  Instructing solicitors with experience in making, and winning, this kind of claim can be the difference between success and failure.  Dallas McMillan’s personal injury department frequently deals with claims against local authorities for trips and slips, with many success stories.  We will undertake a thorough investigation into the circumstances of any accident, as well as working to ensure that any eventual payment of compensation is the full amount our clients are legally entitled to.

In early 2023 a Dallas McMillan client tripped on a damaged paving stone on a busy street in the city centre of Glasgow and suffered a serious ankle injury.  In the course of investigating this client’s claim, we discovered through a Freedom of Information request that monthly inspections had been marking this damaged paving stone for immediate repair every month for over a year.  It had gone unrepaired for all of this time until our client’s accident.  While Glasgow City Council’s inspection system had successfully flagged up the dangerous damaged pavement, they had blatantly failed to repair it in the timeframe their system required.  Based on this failure, we were able to secure several thousand pounds in compensation for our client.

Had Glasgow City Council simply repaired that damaged stone immediately as they should have done, not only would our client have avoided serious injury, but the thousands of pounds of public money that went into investigating this claim and ultimately paying compensation could have been saved.

If you or anyone you know has been injured in the last three years by an accident involving a damaged pavement or road, we can help with a claim against the local authority responsible.  Enquiries can be made through our website, by emailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 0141 333 6750 and asking to speak to me or a member of our Personal Injury Department.

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