A woman who tripped on a driveway and hurt her elbow has won her legal case and could receive up to £45,000 in compensation.

The householder, Anthony Jackson, may have to pay the money himself because his insurers said he had left it too late to let them fight the claim.

After receiving a letter from the woman's solicitor, Jackson claims he called HSBC, with whom he had a household insurance policy, underwritten by Royal & Sunalliance (R&SA). HSBC denies receiving such a call.

The accident happened in June 1998, when Vivian Grave said she fell over a loose flagstone on the drive and fractured her elbow.

She is claiming £27,000 for loss of earnings as well as compensation for personal injury and her legal costs, which are estimated at £18,000.

Last November, Jackson received a county court claim form, but did not send the papers to R&SA until January.

The insurer instructed solicitors, but it was too late to contest the action.

Suzanne Sullivan, spokeswoman for R&SA, confirmed that the insurer would not be paying out on the claim.”The accident happened three years ago but we did not receive a claim until January of this year,” she said.

“Therefore we cannot ascertain if the paving stone was loose and we can't carry out a medical examination.”

A hearing to assess the payout was postponed last month to give Jackson chance to get himself legally represented.