Drain or Manhole Injury Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a drain and manhole cover accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a drain and manhole cover accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming drain or manhole injury compensation:

Claiming compensation for a drain or manhole cover injury

If you have slipped, tripped or fell because of a poorly-maintained drain or manhole cover, you may be entitled to claim injury compensation. Your accident must have been caused by someone else's negligence, and must have happened within the last three years.

Missing manhole cover


Defective, loose or missing manhole covers can cause serious injuries to pedestrians. The most common types of injury caused by manhole accidents are leg injuries, including fractures, breaks and sprains.

Drains and manhole covers must be regularly maintained to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose. If the person or organisation responsible has failed to carry out regular safety checks and repairs, and you are injured as a result, you may have a right to claim compensation.

You will have an even stronger claim if the responsible party was made aware of the defective drain or cover before the accident, and they failed to act promptly to fix the problem or at least put up warning signs or other temporary safety measures.

Who is responsible for drain and manhole maintenance?

Your solicitor will investigate and confirm who is responsible for the drain or manhole cover that caused your injury.

My accident happened on public property

Generally, the responsibility for maintenance of drains and manhole covers on pavements, roads and in other public places falls on the local water and sewerage authority.

Water and sewerage companies serving the UK include:

  • Anglian Water
  • Southern Water
  • Thames Water
  • Yorkshire Water
  • Welsh Water
  • United Utilities

The local authority or water company must carry out regular safety inspections, and carry out repairs and maintenance as appropriate. If the organisation has failed to indentify or promptly repair a trip or fall hazard, they may have breached their duty of care towards members of the public and are therefore negliegent.

My accident happened on private property

Drains on privately-owned land must usually be maintained by the owner or occupier of that property. For example, the freeholder or management company of a block of flats would be responsible if you tripped on a defective drain cover on the property.

It is usually still possible to claim for injury compensation if you were (knowingly or unknowingly) trespassing at the time of the accident.

My accident happened at work

Your employer owes you a duty of care to provide a safe work environment. Employers must take reasonable steps to protect staff from reasonably foreseeable harm, including slips, trips, falls and other accidents caused by defective drains on the property.

If the accident occurred while you were at work, you should report the accident to your manager or employer as soon as you can. Details of the accident should be recorded in your company's accident book.

If you are injured working on someone else's premises, you should also report the accident to them.

Read more:

Work accident compensation claims

Do I have a drain or manhole injury claim?

A drain or manhole injury claim should be possible if your injury happened:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
Check my claim

Claim eligibility - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a drain or manhole injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

Making a defective drain or manhole cover injury claim

If possible, photographs of the scene should be taken as evidence of the incident and specifically of the state of repair of the drain or manhole cover.

The names and addresses of any witnesses should be gathered as they may be requested to provide a statement to support the claim.

Do I need to have seen a doctor when I was injured?

Not necessarily. If you have suffered a sprain or soft tissue injury after tripping over a loose drain cover, you may have decided not to see a doctor at the time of the accident.

Your solicitor will review all the available evidence (such as CCTV, witness statements and complaint letters or emails) and confirm whether your claim is likely to succeed. Your solicitor will also arrange for an independent medical assessment.

The results of the examination will be valuable medical evidence should you decide to claim and, more importantly, you may not be aware of the full extent of your injuries.

Slips and trips involving drains can often result in head injuries. Head trauma can often seem minor initially, but without proper treatment and monitoring can have serious consequences. Your solicitor will ensure your compensation reflects the full extent of your injuries.

Read more:

Slip and trip compensation claims

How much compensation can I claim for a drain or manhole injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your drain or manhole injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your drain or manhole injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a drain or manhole injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a severe leg injury can be £75,000

For a less serious hand injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £3,500.

However, if you have a severe leg injury and a less serious hand injury, you would typically receive £75,000 + a reduced percentage of £3,500.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.

What is the average injury compensation for a drain or manhole injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a drain or manhole injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your drain or manhole injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Can I claim for an existing drain or manhole injury that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Calculate my drain or manhole injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a drain or manhole injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your drain or manhole injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a manhole cover injury claim take?

How long it can take to process a manhole cover accidents claim can vary significantly.

A simple liability accepted public place accident claim can settle in a matter of weeks. However, if liability is denied a claim can take considerably longer. On average a public place accident claim takes 6 to 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your drain or manhole injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee - the facts

No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a drain or manhole injury claim with:

  • no upfront legal fees
  • no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
  • a success fee payable only if your claim is successful

No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your drain or manhole injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my drain or manhole injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my drain or manhole injury claim?

If your drain or manhole injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your drain or manhole injury claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

Call me back
  • Tick icon FREE consultation
  • Tick icon Find out if you can claim
  • Tick icon No obligation to start a claim

Drain or manhole injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a drain or manhole injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the drain or manhole injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your drain or manhole injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a drain or manhole injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim drain or manhole injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a drain or manhole injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Chris Salmon, Director

Chris Salmon, Director