A loose slab in Plaça Espanya is going to cost Palma town hall 101,000 euros. The Balearic High Court has considered two accidents that occurred in the square within the space of three weeks in 2009 and which involved the same tile.
Just before Christmas 2009, a woman fell over in the square. She spent thirteen days in hospital, needed an operation, was off work for almost two years and suffered permanent damage that limits movement of a shoulder.
A Palma police report stated that the fall was caused by a paving tile that was raised by between two and four centimetres. The town hall rejected a claim for compensation and a Palma court agreed, arguing that the type of accident was a "risk of everyday life". The court also noted that the police officers who reported the accident did not consider it necessary to place a warning sign. The town hall didn't immediately repair the slab.
This case and a second one were brought before the high court. It has now ruled that pedestrians should feel confident that conditions are "appropriate" and that the town hall had sole responsibility for the two accidents. The high court has ordered compensation of 46,000 and 55,000 euros for the two cases.
The ruling follows the recent non-binding instruction given to the town hall by the Consultative Council, the body which advises public authorities on legal matters, that compensation should be paid for an accident in the same square in September 2009. In this instance, a woman slipped when there had been rain. The Council was of the view that the town hall knew that the square was in any event slippery and had done nothing to rectify the situation.