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Davis v Somerset County Council, Yeovil County Court, 7 May 2004

27 May 2004
The issues

Highways – Section 41 Highways Act 1980 – Dangerous Defect

The facts

The Claimant was an elderly man, aged 74 at the date of the trial. He had been walking with his wife and grandson from his house to a bus stop elsewhere on the housing estate where he lived. The housing estate comprised a number of cul de sacs. Traffic, both driven and pedestrian was light. The area was subject to an annual inspection. The Claimant tripped on an upstanding kerbstone. The trip had been caused by heavy vehicles driving over the pavement and pushing the soft tarmac of the pavement down. The trip measured in excess of one inch. Following the report of the accident repairs were carried out, the defect being in excess of the 20mm intervention level operated by the County Council for footway defects.

The decision

The defect was not a danger. The defect did measure in excess of one inch but it could only be described as unremarkable. The 20mm intervention level operated by the County was not relevant in terms of the Court determining whether the defect was or was not dangerous.

Would any reasonable person say the defect presented a risk of danger? It seems to me that several would say that it did and several would say that it didn’t. However, for the several that said that it did they would probably agree that we live in a less than perfect world and would accept such discrepancies as an ordinary fact of life. The law does not provide a remedy in the case of every accident.

Claim dismissed.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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