In winter we get many calls from clients who have slipped on ice at work or while shopping and sustained nasty injuries – usually fractures to wrists and arms, or hip and pelvis injuries. But does that mean they have a claim? This depends on the duty of care of the people or authority responsible for the area in which they fell.
It is often possible to claim personal injury compensation after a fall that wasn’t your fault and we have previously covered whether or not you may have a valid slip and trip accident claim for this. However, there is a big difference between suffering an injury as a result of negligent health and safety practices and being injured after falling due to ice or snow.
Adverse weather conditions are out of our control and present less of a foreseeable risk, hence it is harder to prove someone else is at fault for an accident. That being said, in certain circumstances there is a duty of care when it comes to ice and snow. and in some cases you may be eligible to claim.
Claims for a slipping on ice at work
Employers are duty bound to provide a safe working environment and follow health and safety practices to prevent accidents at work. While icy weather can’t be prevented, employers do have responsibility to reduce the risk to workers from slipping on ice. If it can be proven they should have done more to stop such accidents happening, and you injure yourself as a result, we can help you to make a fall at work claim.
So what is your employer’s duty of care to prevent slips on ice at work? In the same way risk assessments are required to prevent other accidents, they should also be carried out for areas that are likely to become slippery during snowy or icy weather. This means assessing and preparing for such weather conditions, making changes to reduce risk and ensuring staff are aware of any dangers.
In some instances this may mean providing safety equipment to employees who have to work in icy conditions, but on the whole your workplace should reduce the risk of slips and falls on ice by:
- Identifying and assessing the most used routes by staff
- Clearing snow, gritting or salting ice in these areas within a reasonable timeframe
- Warning staff where there is a danger of slipping on ice
- Providing alternative, safer routes if possible
- Allowing staff extra time to travel to and from work in extremely cold weather
If your employer hasn’t taken any action to avoid accidents in an icy workplace, and neglected their legal duty of care, they can be held responsible for any injuries. If you’ve been injured after a slip and fall on ice at work and you think your employer has failed to adequately protect your safety or train you to work in icy conditions, a quick call to us will help you to see if you can claim personal injury compensation.
Claims for a slipping on ice in public
As with places of work, if you slip on ice in a public place you might be able to claim if it can be shown there was a likely risk of injury that could and should have been avoided.
For example, car parks and entrances to schools and hospitals should be cleared of snow and icy patches salted or gritted – or signage situated to warn of the hazards. Steps and platforms at bus and train stations are also subject to higher duties of care.
Where there’s a risk of injury due to slipping on ice at the entrance to a shop, or supermarket, for example, the management has a responsibility to clear the ice in a reasonable time, erect a hazard sign to warn customers of a possible danger and ensure that the area is treated to prevent ice developing. If the business can be shown to have failed to take these steps, they could be held liable for injuries sustained should a customer slip and fall.
If you fall in any of these places because you slipped on ice ensure that your accident is recorded in the accident book, seek medical attention and then call us! It is likely that we will be able to take such a claim forward for you.
Another scenario in which you could pursue a claim, albeit a more difficult task, is 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 when they should have done.
When you’re unlikely to win a slip on ice claim
The same rules do not necessarily apply to all locations. 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 they should have ensured the car park was also free from ice and fully gritted or salted.
The same applies to accidents on pavements. Local authorities have a responsibility to grit the roads and they do so in order of importance, with 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 winter weather.
Typically, should someone slip and fall on an icy footpath, it is highly unlikely that they would be able to prove sufficient liability against the local authority highways department responsible for the path. So in a nutshell, if you are walking on icy paths, take care – you are unlikely to be able to claim compensation for any injuries sustained.
Find out if you can claim
In any event, if you are unsure whether or not you can claim personal injury compensation as a result of slipping on ice, the best thing to do is ask us. We’ll let you know whether or not we think you have a viable claim and if so, help you to win a settlement for your injuries, expenses and lost earnings.
You can call us on 01225 430285 or , and one of our expert team will be in touch. We’ll only need a few minutes of your time to let you know if you can make a claim. With over 20 years’ experience, you can use our knowledge and expertise to get your claim off to the best start. There is no charge for assessing your case, so you have nothing to lose and much to gain if you can make a successful claim.