Quick Guide: Injury Compensation Following a Fall or Slip in Snow or Ice
With the past few weeks having seen arctic-style weather conditions across many parts of the UK, as specialist injury claims solicitors our team here at Bakers has already received several enquiries from people who have been injured having fallen in snow or ice.
With more other slipping or falling accident claims the cause can often be easily identifiable, such as a leak or spillage of liquid. In these scenarios, the business (or local authority) responsible for the environment – such as a shop, restaurant, or school - has a responsibility to clear up the spillage in a reasonable time, erect a hazard sign to warn customers of a possible danger or to ensure that the leak is repaired. If the business can be shown to have failed to take these steps in a reasonable time, they could well be held liable for injuries sustained should a customer slip and fall. This is reasonable and can be labelled as ‘foreseeable risk’.
Snow and Ice: Duty of Care
A similar duty of care also applies in icy or snowy conditions. Work environments, especially those outdoors, should be cleared and treated (such as with grit or salt) within a reasonable amount of time following the appearance of snow or ice. In particular, clearance, and treatment of certain areas such as steps or platforms at bus and train stations should take a higher priority. Workplace entrances, pathways and carparks should also be treated, or as a minimum response, suitable signs should be erected to warn people of any potential hazards. If you do suffer a fall and injury whilst at a place of work, it is important that you seek appropriate medical treatment and then make sure that the incident is recorded in the workplace accident book.
Falls on snow and ice in other locations are usually treated differently, however. For example, should you slip on ice in a shop’s car park, it is unlikely that the shop owners could be legally held liable for your injuries. Shops DO have a duty of care to ensure areas such as entrances, shop floors and trolly storage areas are treated and hazard-free. Similar rules apply should you slip or fall on a pavement that is the responsibility of a local authority or council. In the event of wintery and icy conditions, local authorities must prioritise major road routes first, and it is not reasonable to expect them to be able to also treat lesser routes or pathways. As a result, it is quite common for many publicly accessible areas to remain untreated, and individuals must bear this in mind and take appropriate care.
Will a Claim be Successful?
At this time of year, we get a lot of calls from clients who sustained often nasty injuries having fallen on icy paths or steps. Whether there is a valid claim to be made very much depends on the specific circumstances involved. In many cases, the prospects of success come down to the duty of care and the strength of liability against the people or authority responsible for the area in which the person fell. This can often be difficult to prove. With falls on a public footpath due to ice, it is also unlikely that proof of sufficient liability against the local authority highways department responsible for the path can be established to enable an injury compensation claim to succeed. However, it is always worth contacting us first to find out for sure.
Winter Injuries Claims Advice
At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience and success in representing claimants who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own, helping them to receive the compensation and rehabilitation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love to delight our clients when they receive the injury compensation they deserve.
If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600 Read about some of our compensation claim success stories or key stages to making a claim