A Unite the Union branch secretary who ended up on crutches for six weeks after she fell on uneven paving and fractured her foot has received compensation.

Unite Barking and Dagenham branch secretary Adele Kaplan, 60, from Ilford suffered a fractured metatarsal after she tripped on the uneven paving outside Regus House on London Road, Barking.

She had been attending a meeting with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham as part of her duties as branch secretary. When she left the offices at 4.30pm it was dark. There was no lighting and she was unable to see the faulty area of the pavement.

Her colleague drove her home and an x-ray at accident and emergency the following day showed she had suffered a fracture.

She was put in a plaster cast below the knee and was off work for six weeks while she recovered. During that time she needed significant help around the home from her family.

Thompsons Solicitors pursued a claim for compensation

After the accident she contacted Unite Legal Services for advice. Unite instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Investigations found that the building owners Fortis were responsible for the paved area but did not have a regular inspection programme in place to spot defects.

Fortis admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mrs Kaplan, who has since retired as branch secretary, said: “This accident could have happened to anyone. It was dark and the paving was extremely uneven. I was watching where I was going but I couldn’t see the defect and ended up flying.”

Peter Kavanagh from Unite the Union added: ”It’s all about systems. Paths can’t be perfect but defects like these can be spotted and if they are repaired accidents like these can be avoided. This case is a clear reminder to all organisations who are responsible for public highways to have a programme of regular inspection.

“This is a success for Unite Legal Services and all our members should take some comfort from knowing that our legal services are at hand to act for members and their families.”

Anna Barnett from Thompsons Solicitors added: “This was a recipe for disaster. There was no lighting to help guide pedestrians from this building and the paving was extremely uneven. The hazardous area should have been clearly cordoned off until Fortis could have it repaired.”