PERSONAL INJURY LAW IN SPAIN: The liability of the Public Administration for negligence in the performance of its duties. Town Hall liability for a fall in the street due to a storm drain improperly covered.

CONSULTATION: I fell inside a storm drain in Pego because the cover was not properly fixed, can I claim against someone? How and what can I claim?

Dear reader,

Thank you for your consultation.

As we mentioned in an article some time ago, normally the maintenance of the storm drains is responsibility of the local Town Hall, which has the obligation to control and maintain the security in the public areas of the municipality: streets, roads etc ( according with the article 25 of the Law 7/1985, LRBRL). This is similar to the Occupiers’ Liability Act in the UK. Therefore in the case mentioned, if someone falls down and suffers an injury because the cover was not properly secured, the person injured will have an action against the Town Hall, claiming for the damages suffered.

It is important to know that:

• There is normally a deadline of 1 year to claim against the Administration (Town Hall in this case) for the lack or poor implementation of a Public Service, etc.

• All the damages suffered, i.e.: days without being able to work, permanent damages and injuries (secuelas), expenses, etc should be proved, as the compensation payable will depend on them.

• The damages are calculated in accordance with a fixed scale, which is yearly reviewed.

In this sense, we advise you and the rest of the readers, that in the event that you are involved in a similar case you should: take photographs of what happened (maybe with your mobile); ask the witnesses to provide you with their telephone number and personal details in case you need them to testify; you should phone the police and ask them to make a report of what happened; after that you must go directly to the hospital “urgencias