If a drain or manhole injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Manholes and drain covers on pavements pose a unique risk to pedestrians, often leading to serious injuries. Improperly fitted, damaged, or unmarked covers can create trip hazards, causing falls or severe injuries like sprains, fractures, or lacerations. The risk is heightened at night in poorly lit areas.

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a drain and manhole cover accident, we can help. Whether your injuries were caused by a slip or trip, fall or other incident, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

You can make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim for an accident in a public place with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

With around 2,000 pedestrian injuries every year, you are not alone

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.

In 2022, there were 385 pedestrian fatalities and 2,134 casualties, many of which resulted from pavement trips and falls (gov.uk).

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.

You can report missing manhole covers centrally at mySociety.org.

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 identify or promptly repair a trip or fall hazard, they may have breached their duty of care towards members of the public and are therefore negligent.

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

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.

Am I eligible to claim compensation for a manhole injury?

You will be able to claim compensation if you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault.

Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.

Compensation claims with shared fault

It's not unusual for personal injury claims to involve fault on both sides.

In our 2024 Public Liability Injury Claimant Survey, we found that 17.45% of respondents felt they had at least some responsibility for the injuries they sustained.

Even if your actions or negligence played a role in the accident, you could still be eligible for compensation. Cases with shared fault (contributory negligence) frequently settle through a split liability agreement.

Read more:

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

How long do I have to claim manhole injury compensation?

In most cases, you have up to 3 years from the date of your accident or injury to start a claim.

For an injured child, the three-year limitation period begins on their 18th birthday, giving them until they are 21 to start a claim.

How much compensation can I claim for a manhole injury?

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

  • the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

Drain or manhole injury compensation calculator

Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

Updated April 2024 Compensation Calculator v3.04

General damages

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

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

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

Special damages

Special damages is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your injury. Compensation can include loss of income, including future loss of income, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.

These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as diagnostic imaging tests, physical therapy and pain management.

Read more:

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

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 did your injury happen?

The claims process for a drain or manhole injury will depend on where and how the accident happened. Click the icons below for more information:

No win, no fee drain or manhole injury compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim drain or manhole injury compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

How we can help you with your injury claim

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.

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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee injury claim, we are open:

Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Case study

Kevin Walker obtains £80,000 for a construction worker's catastrophic hand injury

Read more case studies


Source: (reviewed: 08/12/2023)

Chris Salmon, Director

Chris Salmon, Director