It may seem macabre, ridiculous even, but accidents involving gravestones can cause serious injury and result in those affected instructing personal injury lawyers to claim compensation.
The reality of this was brought home in 2000 with the tragic death of a six-year-old boy in North Yorkshire who was crushed to death by a falling headstone.
Since then, councils have been more vigilant in attempts to repair broken gravestones, sometimes at great cost. However, the prohibitive cost of repairing and restoring gravestones means that many councils have sought to simply destroy hazardous headstones, something that carries the risk of causing great offence.
A Liberal Democrat councillor with an interest in the graveyard safety issue commented, "We obviously want cemeteries to be safe places, but when was the last time one of these stones fell of its own accord?
"There must surely be another way of making the stones safe than pushing them down. How can you trace relatives of 19th century gravestones which are probably in an area of the cemetery no-one visits anyway?
"It must be extremely upsetting for relatives."
Sam Weller, the chairman of the Association of Burial Authorities, implies that there is a very real risk of the kinds of accidents that would necessitate injured parties seeking the representation of personal injury lawyers. "In cemeteries across Britain there are stones standing in rows just waiting to fall over," he said.
"They don't kill many people but they can break your fingers or ankles."
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Published on 1970-01-01 22:31:00