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Man left with brain damage after tripping on Hornsey pothole wins ‘substantial damages’

PUBLISHED: 17:03 13 March 2013 | UPDATED: 19:20 18 March 2013

Kyle Bullock was left with brain damage after tripping on a pothole in 2007.

Kyle Bullock was left with brain damage after tripping on a pothole in 2007.

Archant

A man who was left with brain damage after tripping on a pothole as he walked home with friends has won “substantial damages” from Homes for Haringey.

Kyle Bullock’s life was “turned upside down” after he stumbled over the pothole in Lightfoot Road, Hornsey, in July 2007.

He fell “very heavily indeed” but due to the road’s steepness was unable to break his fall. He was rushed to the Whittington Hospital in Highgate and admitted to the intensive care unit.

After undergoing brain surgery, he spent an extended period in a brain injury rehabilitation unit and required help and support with most aspects of daily living.

But this was only the beginning of Mr Bullock’s problems.

He had been working for a charity and had just bought a flat, where he lived with his partner.

But he couldn’t return to work and the relationship faltered. So decided to return to his native Australia, where his mother and many of his friends lived to continue with his rehabilitation.

He has also gone on to develop epilepsy and now lives with the consequences of his brain injury on a daily basis.

Homes for Haringey (HfH) originally denied responsibility for the accident although it did accept the road had not been maintained to a proper standard.

Mr Bullock’s solicitor Jill Greenfield – who believes this is was the “worst case of a pothole causing such serious injuries” – argued that HfH were liable for the accident, citing the numerous complaints by residents over the poor state of the road.

The road was also logged on the Network Priority List in March 2007. Documents indicated it was one of the streets in the area that was “subject to high levels of complaints and accident claims”.

The claim in respect of liability was settled in 2008, approved by the High Court.

The final sum was finally settled on Monday by Sir Raymond Jack at the High Court.

It is not known how much was awarded but it is said to be substantial.

Ms Greenfield, partner and head of the catastrophic injury claims unit at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, said: “Kyle has fought hard to recover a good quality of life following such a terrible accident.

“It is truly shocking to think that that this could have been avoided if Homes for Haringey had filled these holes.

“My client’s life has been turned upside down primarily due to the failure to maintain the road surface by Homes for Haringey; such simple steps could have been taken. I do hope that they have learned lessons from this. Red tape really must not compromise residents safety.”

An Haringey Council spokesman apologised for “the injury and distress suffered by Mr Bullock”.

He added: “Following this incident, we introduced a comprehensive maintenance programme on all HfH estates.

“We carry out twice-yearly inspections of all estate roads and footpaths, making repairs as necessary. We spend £300,000 each year on maintenance as part of our efforts to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.”

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