A ROSS-SHIRE grandmother left with a fractured back and facing months off work after falling on an icy high street pavement has had her hopes of a compensation claim against Highland Council dashed.
Sheila Campbell (61) believes the local authority’s gritting team should have had the pavement clear of ice for pedestrians, sparing her an agonising injury.
The slip happened on Dingwall High Street on December 15, shortly after Mrs Campbell had been to the Royal Bank to use the cash machine.
It came during a cold snap which sparked a torrent of complaints from across the county about slippery roads and pavements.
She has been signed off from her job as an office cleaner since the fall and next week expects to see a drastic drop in salary when she moves onto statutory sick pay.
But advice from a no-win, no-fee claim company has left her feeling even more let down.
She said: "The man on the phone told me if I had slipped on the grounds of any High Street business I could have made a claim but he said that the council has a duty to grit the roads first, and then the pavements are secondary. He didn’t sound like he really wanted to get involved.
"That’s as far as I went with it. I haven’t contacted the council yet, I’m not sure it’ll be worth my while. But that pavement should have been gritted. When I fell it was 10.20am, it’s not like it was half five in the morning.
"And I have witnesses who saw me go down."
She added: "My sick note for the company I work for runs out this week so I was down seeing the doctor today and he said I’m not fit to go back to work because it was quite a big fracture in my back, it was quite a big bone. I’m still in quite a lot of pain, if I walk for a while I feel it, if I use the hoover I feel it, it’s like a big pressure in my back. It’s not the best, I’m pretty miserable. I’ve worked all my life. I’m not taking this well because the only time I have ever had time off was when I had my hip done and I was back at work within six weeks."
A spokeswoman for the local authority said: "Highland Council cannot comment on an incident that has not been reported to the authority."
Asked about obligations towards pedestrians in such circumstances, she said: "Section 34 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 provides that the roads authority shall take such steps as they consider reasonable to prevent snow and ice endangering the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles over public roads. The Highland Council’s winter maintenance policy sets levels of service which it considers reasonable given the resources available and the severity of winters experienced over the preceding years."