I’ve slipped on ice or snow. Can I claim personal injury compensation?

With the weathermen forecasting a period of snowy and icy weather for the majority of Britain, there will be plenty of excited kids (and big kids!) preparing their toboggans and snowball making skills. However, outside of the fun of the snow, there is a good chance that many people will have the misfortune to slip and fall, injuring themselves as a result.

In usual circumstances – not involving ice and snow – it is often possible to claim personal injury compensation after a slipping accident and we have previously covered the subject of knowing whether or not you may have a valid claim for slipping accident compensation. However, there is a big difference between being injured after falling on ice or snow to suffering a nasty personal injury as a result of negligent health and safety practices by a business or when visiting a restaurant or shopping centre.

Ice and snow responsibilities

In usual circumstances, a slipping accident is generally caused by a spillage or a leak. In this case, a business, shop or restaurant 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’.

However, the same rules do not necessarily apply to snow or ice issues. For example, if you were to slip on ice in the car park of a supermarket, it is unlikely that you could hold them liable for your injuries. Whilst they would have a responsibility to ensure that the entrance area, trolley storage area and shop floor were free from hazards, it is doubtful that a court would agree that they should have ensure that the car park was free from ice (i.e fully gritted and salted).

The same applies to slipping on pavements if they are icy. Local authorities have a responsibility to grit/salt the roads and they do so in order of importance, with the major routes like motorways and A-roads being prioritised over lesser roads. Pavements are generally left untreated as it isn’t really feasible to expect the local authority to have the manpower or equipment to treat all roads and pavements in inclement weather.

Road users such as motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists must also accept that using the roads in icy or snowy weather is inherently risky. However, if you were injured in a road traffic accident on a major road and it could be proven that a local authority had failed to treat the highway in question (a very difficult task!) you could then pursue a claim for compensation.

Find out if your claim could succeed

In any event, if you are unsure whether or not you can claim personal injury compensation as a result of slipping, falling, crashing or coming off of your bicycle as a result of snow or ice, the best thing to do is contact us. We’ll let you know whether or not we thing you have a viable claim and if so, help you to make your claim for personal injury compensation.

Filed under Slip and Trip Accidents

6 questions   ASK YOUR OWN

  1. Going to my work as a carer, slipped on the snow sustained injury to my foot ankle back for X-ray on Monday , got big boot on my foot in severe pain can I claim against council or my work , for going out in bad conditions underfoot

    1. It is unlikely that you would be able to hold the local authority liable for your injuries as they would not necessarily have a duty of care to remove snow or ice from public footpaths or to apply grit or salt to them either.

      However, there could be a possibility of pursuing a claim against your employer on the basis of a lack of risk assessment or adequate warning to you regarding the risks and providing knowledge to you as to how to minimise the risk of injury after a slip on snow. We will not know more until we have spoken with you.

  2. I slipped on black ice on a smooth paved area that’s notoriously slippy. This fall resulted in my knee being displaced and my patella split resulting in an operation. The pain I have endured has been excruciating and I’ve been told I will probably need a further operation and will have long term damage by causing an arthritic condition due to the injury.
    I have read that you say it’s not feaseable for councils to grit all pavements but I think this is very wrong especially on a pavement known for being prone to ice and in a very central area.
    Through no fault of my own I have been left with a permanent injury yet part of my council fees is surely to make sure pavements are safe to walk on on way to work. Also the council have put very smooth paving here which makes it a whole lot more dangerous as just a few yards further the paving has gritted surface which is far less slippy.
    Am I to accept I have no redress against them? If so I truly think it’s shocking as this will continue to happen as it did to someone else I know on the same day as my accident..
    The council will just continue its neglect

    1. It is very hard to pursue a claim for compensation after injuries sustained when slipping on an icy footpath. There is no strict statutory duty for local authorities to treat footpaths and in previous case law, the courts have largely found in favour of defendants in such actions. In most cases, the highways department treat roads in a hierarchical system, dealing with major routes (motorways, A-Roads, bus routes etc). It is hard to expect them to have the resources and man/woman power to grit and treat footpaths throughout their regions.

      We are not saying that you definitely don’t have a claim, but explaining how the ‘system’ works in this regard. The best thing to do at this time would be for you to forward some photographs of the area where you fell to us. If you could provide some close up shots of the path surface where you fell and also the surface a few yards away that is less ‘smooth’ as well as a few showing them together (from a distance), we can at least get our specialist Solicitors to have a look and give you their view?

      You can email any photographs to us at: [email protected] If you do forward photographs, just draw our attention to your comment on this page and our response and we’ll be able to identify you and the details of your accident.

  3. Visitor
    Hi i fell on a massive patch of black ice outside my local shop. I skidded trued to balance myself but the patch was too big and i ended up flying backward and landing on my back. The problem is no one saw it happen and i went straight into the shop and told them to sort it out to which they poured boiling water on it. I have been led up all day in agony as i also suffer with fibromyalgia and have problems with my L5 and my S7 in my back and the fall has cause me major pain in my back neck shoulder and legs. My partner went back to where i fell a little while later to get a picture as i was in too much pain to think about it but it had gone. Would this cause a problem if i was to put in a claim. I am also attending a doctors appointment tomorrow to be checked over.

    1. Carole

      Thank you for letting us know about your accident. I hope that you are recovering well.

      I would suggest that we should put your claim to our solicitors as I believe that you may well have a viable prospect of succeeding with this. Please go to: https://direct2compensation.co.uk/make-a-claim-for-compensation and make an enquiry. We’ll then be able to call you and discuss matters before linking you with one of our specialist solicitor partners.

      We look forward to hearing from you.



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