A Paraplegic who broke his hip when he was flung out of his wheelchair after it hit a pothole has received £80,000 in compensation.

The 56-year-old from Aldershot was returning home from a night out at a concert with his brother when the accident happened in November 2005.

His brother was pushing him in his wheelchair over a dimly lit bridge on Church Lane in Aldershot when the chair’s front wheels suddenly hit the deep pot hole.

The chair came to an abrupt stop causing him to be flung out and his brother to almost fall on top of him.

Fractured hip required surgery

He is paralysed from the chest down after a motorbike accident when he was 16. His condition meant he couldn’t feel any pain so it wasn’t until the next day when his hip became swollen that he realised he was seriously injured.

He had fractured his hip and needed surgery to insert a metal plate. He later needed further surgery to remove the plate when it caused complications.

The accident meant he lost confidence in his wheelchair and now instead uses an electric wheelchair.

He said: “I’ve had to completely change my routine because I lost confidence in my wheelchair and I cannot risk a similar fall from happening. Potholes may be a common problem but for wheelchair users they are a dangerous hazard that we can’t always spot or avoid.”

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident his brother, a train driver, reported the pothole and contacted his trade union, ASLEF, to enquire about claiming compensation.

Through the union friends and family legal scheme ASLEF instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons was successful in arguing that Hampshire County Council should have made sure the pothole was repaired or, at the very least, taken steps to make sure the pavement was safe.

Hampshire County Council admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman said: “This case shows just how important our friends and family scheme is for members. We were able to give this member’s brother free legal advice allowing him to leave the legal arguments to our experts while he concentrated on recovering from the accident.”

Councils owe a duty of care to the public

Ben Simons from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Potholes are a common but dangerous hazard on our roads and pavements. Councils owe a duty of care to the public to ensure that roads and pavements are properly maintained.

“Councils often put forward a defence that they have a reasonable system of inspection and maintenance in place but our considerable experience is that those systems are often very poor.”