I recently sustained a broken leg after tripping over a gravestone on a visit to a cemetery near my home and am wondering whether it is possible to pursue a claim for falling in a cemetery?
In order to be able to claim for falling in a cemetery you must be able to prove that someone else was at fault for your broken leg. The responsibility for maintaining cemeteries falls on local councils, which have in recent times being taking measures to make cemeteries safer environments for visitors. Despite this, accidents such as the one that led to your injury have been known to happen.
One of the ways in which councils have approached the issue of safety in graveyards recently was to lay headstones flat on the soil, rather than have them in an upright position. This move was met with ferocious anger from the public, and led to the headstones being re-erected, costing authorities yet more money.
Discussing a claim for compensation for an accident which occurred in a cemetery can understandably be a sensitive matter and any claim you pursue, whether it is against the local council or another authority responsible for maintaining the graveyard, is likely to be fiercely contested.
In order to bolster your chances of being awarded compensation, you might try having a surveyor inspect the scene of the accident for dangerous obstacles or protruding objects. Other areas of the cemetery where similar accidents could happen should also be inspected and documented; and statements should be taken from any witnesses who were present when you sustained your injury.
If the evidence you have gathered is strong, you may find yourself contacted by an insurance company representing the body that runs the cemetery with an offer of compensation. Although the prospect of an immediate settlement might be appealing, it may not be enough to cover the medical bills and any other costs you incurred as a result of your broken leg. If you want your claim for falling in a cemetery to have the best possible chance of succeeding or to know if an offer you have already received is worth accepting you should speak to a solicitor at the first available opportunity.
Another scenario could see the local council or whoever operates the cemetery blame you for your injuries. If you are partly responsible for your injuries you may be forced to forfeit some of your award and pay some of your own costs. Describing the circumstances which led to your injury to a solicitor will allow you to find out if you could be found to have contributed to your own injury and whether pursing a claim for falling in a cemetery is worth doing.