The claimant was injured when stepping down onto the road from her ambulance.
She stepped into a defect in the road, a wide indent some two inches deep. The road was a quiet cul-de-sac with no pavements, so it was necessary to use the road as a walkway. As such it was reasonably foreseeable that this defect in the road could result in injury to pedestrians.
The Judge considered the photographs of the defect and concluded that it presented a clear risk to the public and was most certainly an actionable defect; further that it was not unreasonable to expect the Defendants to have taken action in this case.
The Judge also referred to the Defendant’s Code of Practice, which had been addressed during the proceedings. The code stated that depressions around ironwork (as was the case here) which are more than 20mm lower than the ironwork must be reset. In this case the depression was 50mm lower.
The defendants tried to argue that this was just a maintenance issue and not a safety issue but this was not accepted.
Crowther -v- Kirklees Metropolitian Council, 13 October 2006 , Huddersfield CC