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.