Stevenage pensioner’s £15,000 payout after Hitchin pavement fall

Stevenage resident Pauline Miller with her compensation letter

Stevenage resident Pauline Miller with her compensation letter - Credit: Archant

A PENSIONER who had to have a metal plate and pins inserted into her arm and wrist after she caught her foot on a four-inch wide hole in the pavement has received £15,000 in compensation.

Pauline Miller had been to visit her disabled daughter Annette – who has multiple sclerosis and is looked after at a care home in Hitchin – and was making her way along Brand Street to catch the bus home to Stevenage when her right foot got caught in the hole.

“The hole looked like it had been made to hold a metal post for some kind of street sign, but the post had been removed and no-one had bothered to fill the hole in,” said the 77-year-old, who featured in the Comet in March after a 66-year wait to meet her half-sister.

“When I fell I landed really heavily on my left side. At first I was in shock and didn’t even realise I’d been hurt.

“Luckily a car stopped beside me and two young girls got out and helped me. Someone from the takeaway across the road also came out and looked after me until the ambulance arrived.”


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Mrs Miller was taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage where x-rays revealed she had suffered numerous fractures to her left forearm and dislocated her left wrist.

After being transferred to the QE2 Hospital at Welwyn GC, she underwent reconstructive surgery.

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Mrs Miller said the worst thing about her injuries was the fact that she couldn’t go and visit her daughter Annette at the Symonds House Leonard Cheshire carehome, situated in Lavender Fields.

“It caused me a lot of heartache as I was so keen to go over and see her in the weeks after the accident but I was in so much pain I just couldn’t make the trip,” she said.

Lawyer Michael Hagan, who represented Mrs Miller through Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: “The unfilled hole in the pavement was clearly dangerous, the very definition of an ‘accident waiting to happen’.”

An out-of-court settlement was agreed with Hertfordshire County Council earlier this year following the incident in August 2011, but Mrs Miller added that even now her arm “still feels detached” from her body.

She has given some of the compensation money to her other daughter Paulette Kane, who also lives in Stevenage and helped care for her mother following the injury.

Mrs Kane is hoping to set up a photographic gift company, with some of the profits going to Carers in Hertfordshire and the Angels Support Group.

She will be setting up a stall for the first time between 8.30am and 5pm at Stevenage Indoor Market on Friday and Saturday.

Mrs Miller will also be treating Annette to a holiday at a specialist hotel for disabled people in Norfolk in October.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council was unable to comment on the case but said: “Hertfordshire is a densely populated county and we have over 3,000 miles of pavements and cycle paths to maintain. We are always sorry to hear of anyone injuring themselves.

“We, with our partners Ringway, will continue to work really hard to keep on top of pavement repair. We regularly inspect all pavements and fix any hazards we find and we have an emergency response team that repairs hazardous pavements within 24 hours of us receiving a report.”

To report a fault visit www.hertsdirect.org/highwayfaults

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