The NUJ and Thompsons Solicitors have helped a photojournalist, who seriously injured his ankle and finger after tripping on a poorly-maintained utility cover, secure compensation.

The NUJ member was working as a freelance photojournalist when he tripped and fell on the utility cover in Hackney. He suffered a serious spiral fracture to his ring finger and tore ligaments in his ankle.

As a result of his fall, the 55-year-old needed multiple surgeries to repair the damage to his ankle and left ring finger and was unable to work for seven weeks. He also needed a programme of rehabilitation to help rebuild the strength in his ankle, including physiotherapy and personal training.

Following the accident, the photojournalist contacted his trade union, the NUJ, who instructed personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons’ investigation showed that it was the responsibility of Transport for London (TfL) to maintain the utility cover that caused the man’s fall. Thompsons went on to prove that TfL had failed to repair the hazardous pavement.

The man said: “I count myself as very fortunate for the full legal backing I had from Thompsons Solicitors and the NUJ. Without my NUJ membership, I could never have afforded to seek legal redress for my injuries.

“It’s part and parcel of my job to travel from one location to another throughout the day – my injuries completely stopped me from working for almost two months, which I found really distressing and actually brought me to a real low point.”

Roy Mincoff, legal officer at the NUJ, said: “Photojournalism is a profession that requires speed and the ability to travel. It’s frustrating to hear that our member’s inability to work was on account of TfL’s failure to maintain a pavement in a busy London suburb. We are pleased that he has now received compensation.”

David Stothard, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Maintaining pavements and utility covers is not just the responsibility of local authorities, as this case shows. There are numerous organisations who also have this responsibility. Thankfully our investigations identified the organisation responsible for our client’s accident so that we could pursue a claim for compensation.

“Unfortunately, our client’s finger is permanently disfigured and restricted – injuries that were completely avoidable if TfL had simply done its job.”