Avoidable Fatal Accident Case ends in huge payout

Here are Attwaters Accidents we were once again horrified to hear of yet another fatal accident case. This was another avoidable tragedy – if only the local authority had followed their own policy of inspection and maintenance.

Safety and Health Practioner (SHP) has once again reported on an easily avoided fatal accident case. They write:

Staffordshire County Council has been prosecuted for failing to inspect and maintain trees on a public footpath, following the death of a member of the public.

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard how, on 3 October 2019, a man walking his dog on the Isabel Trail in Stafford was struck and killed by part of a falling oak tree.

The HSE’s investigation found that the tree, a multi-stemmed mature hybrid oak, approximately 12-14 metre high and with a crown radius of between seven and ten metres, had defects from which it was foreseeable that it was likely to fall and cause injury. The tree was located within the boundaries of the Isabel Trail.

Local authorities, including Staffordshire County Council, are legally required to suitably and sufficiently manage the risks and hazards posed by the trees within their responsibility remit.  Staffordshire County Council had a programme of proactive inspection and maintenance across the county, but the Isabel Trail had been omitted for many years.

Staffordshire County Council of 1 Staffordshire Place, Stafford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,164.90 and a victim surcharge £181.”

If you believe you have grounds for a any personal injury claim, that was not your fault, please talk to our Personal Injury Team.


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