A Guide to Claiming Compensation for a Slip, Trip or Fall at Work

You are entitled to claim compensation if you have been injured by a slip or trip at work as a result of employer negligence in providing a safe working environment. Here we look at what’s involved in making such a claim.

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Hurt ankle after a fall at work


Slips, trips and falls are among the most common causes of injury in accident at work compensation claims. While they may seem innocuous, the injuries suffered can have big implications for the injured persons’ future. Common injuries include fractures to the ankles, lower legs, wrists and forearms, or to the coccyx area of the lower back. They can also cause people to suffer nasty soft tissue injuries with damage to the knees, hips and shoulders.

In most cases, people are left with mobility and independence impairments, whether temporary or permanent. In cases of severe injuries, such as an open fracture, we have also helped people who have suffered psychological trauma.

Slips and trips at work

Slipping accidents at work are more common than trips and usually caused by wet floors. Employees can also slip if they are not provided with the correct footwear, or if a floor surface is not fit for purpose, such as no non-slip covering in potentially wet environments.

Tripping accident at work claims usually relate to potholes or footpaths around the workplace, or in car parks. They can also arise as a result of a messy workplace, if wires or cables are not stored properly or if items are left in walkways or beside desks etc.

Falls at work

When we’re talking about falls at work, this usually applies to falls from height.  According to the Health and Safety Executive: Work at height means work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. You are working at height if you:

  • work above ground/floor level
  • could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or
  • could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground

Work at height does not include a slip or a trip on the level, as a fall from height has to involve a fall from one level to a lower level, nor does it include walking up and down a permanent staircase in a building. Claims arise from many preventable mistakes – employers failing to provide the correct length of ladder, or refusing to pay for height access platforms, for example. Scaffolding and exposed edges are also common causes of falls at work. A lack of training, guidance and an inadequate safe working at height policy can all leave the employer liable should accidents happen.

The benefits of claiming compensation

Injured employees may well be left unable to work for a period of time and therefore have to cope with the stress and anxiety of losing their income, as well as suffering with the pain and discomfort of their injuries. Claiming personal injury compensation can help ease some of the problems you’ll experience and help in a number of ways other than just a cash settlement:

  • Claiming injury compensation is a legal right, and if successful it fairly compensates you for injuries that were not your fault.
  • A successful claim can help to pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed your recovery.
  • Claiming injury compensation after a slip or trip at work can make up for lost income now and in the future if you are prevented from working again. This is by way of a special damages claim that relates to losses above and beyond any compensation settlement awarded to cover the injuries and distress caused.

As all slips and trips at work compensation claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, you will never be charged if your claim does not succeed. A successful claim will lead to a compensation settlement being made to you, with the value of the claim including any lost income and incurred costs as well as a settlement for the injuries and medical treatment that you have sustained.

When can you claim for a slip, trip or fall at work?

Employers and contractors are legally obliged to provide a safe and secure environment for workers. Injury claims will succeed if it can be proven they have been negligent and failed to comply with their statutory duties.

When employers fail to provide a safe working environment there will be an increased risk of hazards. Employers must be aware of the risks of injury to their staff. Whether through defective machinery, an unmarked hazard, a lack of protective equipment or safety guards, insufficient training and guidance of staff, a failure to identify slipping hazards and erect warning signs, employers will be liable should someone slip or trip and sustain injuries severe enough to warrant a compensation claim.

Employers, contractors and site management providers must ensure:

  • That staff are given a safety induction relating to the workplace. That staff and contractors are made aware of the likely risks of an accident and know how to minimise those risks through hazard signage etc, and that staff are made aware as to how to deal with accidents and seek first aid.
  • That health and safety signage is properly and prominently displayed and they must ensure that all workers are made aware of their obligations to work safely.
  • That all staff are provided with, or obliged to wear the correct personal protective equipment.
  • That staff are adequately qualified to use any tools or machinery that they are asked to use.
  • That cleaning contractors erect hazard warning signs when making floors wet during and after cleaning.
  • That any hazards found that may cause the risk of slipping or tripping accidents are identified and fully repaired.

Working at height regulations

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 were specifically created to protect those working at height, whether half a mile above the ground or simply standing on a chair. Any activity performed above floor level carries the risk of a fall. This would include using foot or kick stools within shops or factories, through to the use of ladders, scaffolding and even rope climbing. Obviously some jobs are more dangerous in this respect than others, but the same basic health and safety laws apply to all.

If employers are tasking staff members to work at height, they must ensure that the employee understands what equipment they should use to safely access the height needed. Furthermore, the employer is responsible for the maintenance and safety of any items used, including stools, step ladders, full ladders, scaffold towers or any other height access equipment.

Regardless of the kind of workplace, employers must by law ensure:

  • That staff are adequately trained in how to access anything at a height above arms reach, and also provided with the right equipment to access anything located at height.
  • That any items provided to staff to enable them to work safely at height are regularly maintained and repaired, and that any items that are reported to be or are found to be faulty or dangerous are removed from use and only returned to active service once repaired fully.

How Direct2Compensation can help with your claim

As with all accidents at work, it is important to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly within an accident book and that medical attention is sought for any injuries that you have sustained. If you haven’t done this already, we can help you to do so.

We know your rights and can help you to understand whether the specifics of your accident are such that you are likely to win compensation. With our easy to understand claims process and ability to handle your claim quickly, simply and transparently, there are many reasons that make us the right choice when it comes to starting your claim for injury compensation.

To start your claim today, or even to find out a little bit more about the claims process and how we can help, fill out our claims form and we’ll call you back, or if you prefer, you can call us on 01225 430285.

Direct2Compensation are regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities. Our authorisation number is: CRM33541.

20 questions   ASK YOUR OWN

  1. Hi. My partner works as a security guard for a shopping centre that has smaller outbuildings, which are restaurants, pubs, etc, which he must include in his security duties as part of his job. Part of his role is to patrol the outside of the building and its outbuildings at night (when it’s dark) using a route that is predetermined for him by management. One night he was doing his usual night patrol around part of the building which contains a restaurant, he slipped in a spillage outside this restaurant where their bins are (all part of the route he is instructed to use by management). He did damage to his knee, was signed off work by the doctors (with a medical note) and the hospital confirmed that the slip had caused cartilage damage. The day he returned to work after his medical note expired and his knee was better enough to work on, he was fired as the boss said “his level of absence was unacceptable”. He had worked there about 3 months (still in probation period of 3 months) and prior to his knee injury he had only had very minimal time off work, maybe about 3 days off sick before his knee injury (due to another accident at work, and his bosses were the ones who sent him home that time), so it was only the knee injury that caused the longer period of absence and it was covered by a doctor’s note that declared him unfit to work. To make matters worse, they agreed to renew his security badge at their expense, as he was their employee, but as he was fired he is now without a valid badge and therefore no means of getting another job in security as we cannot afford the cost to renew the badge. There was no warning given, so we were caught completely off guard and, since I left my job recently to have our daughter, we will be in financial difficulty as a result of this seemingly unfair loss of his job. Do we have any claim? Thank you for your information.

    1. Freya

      Thank you for visiting our website and sharing your partners situation.

      There could well be a claim to be made here against the employer and restaurant that left the spillage/waste outside their premises. This claim would be for the knee injury and loss of income caused by the same. Unfortunately, given that your husband was only employed for a few months, he has very little rights against his employer for the termination of his contract.

      We would be delighted to try and assist with the personal injury claim and I invite you to send me his contact number – by email to: [email protected] so that I can call him and offer some advice and assistance.

      Yours sincerely


  2. Hi, this was a bit of time ago but I just want to know if I can get any money out of it now. Basically when I was working at a restaurant I was a kitchen assistant and we was running the Christmas booking and a bit of carpet was loose and they was saying it was for a while but never bothered fixing it, I tripped over it and fell over it wasn’t mad injuries but I was in a&e all night due to a broken finger and was in bad pain, well they believed that anyway. Would I be able to claim for this?

    1. Caitlin

      Yes, you could most certainly pursue a claim for this accident, even if it did happen a while ago.

      Claimants have a maximum period of 3-years from the date of their accident in which they can pursue a claim for compensation, so as long as you are within that 3-year period, you’ll be fine.

      We look forward to speaking with you.

      Yours sincerely


      1. Ok thank you, it was only a sprained finger, but anyone could of fell over it they did write it in the accident book at the time.

        1. Caitlin

          A sprain injury can be equally as serious as a fracture and is something you can definitely pursue a claim for compensation for.

  3. dear sir I tripped over a pallet at work but did not fall over it a college saw me fall forward then help me back to my feet said thanks ect ect carried on for a few min and my leg just gave up on me put it in accident book thought its just a muscle saw doc she said just rest paracitamol the next day after sleeping pain all over got to see my doc had examination he told me it was whiplash and to rest a couple days iwas carrying boxes when I went forward will I get paid for this accident thurs and fri told to complete accident report when I return Monday thankyou in advance

    1. The fact that you didn’t actually fall to the floor would not effect the outcome of any claim you opted to pursue. Whether or not you can succeed with a claim will depend on why you tripped over the pallet. Had it been left in a dangerous position? Was it obscured from view and as such a hazard? If so, you may well succeed with a claim. However, if the pallet was left in a safe location where it is not a walkway and you simply tripped over it because you were not looking where you were going, of course, you would have no claim.

      We would like to look in to this further for you as we have succeeded with many identical claims over the years. Please call us on 01225430285 or email your number to me.

      Yours sincerely


  4. I sprained my ankle at work, I was wearing flip flops but I sprained it stepping of of a concrete lip. Flip flops are not part of our school dress code. I am a first grade teacher. My work sent me to the dr. and had me file a claim. but after I missed 3 days they told me my time off would not be covered because I was didnt have any PTO time left and because i wasnt wearing the right shoes. I have only been here since January and most of the staff wear flip-flops all the time. Is it legal to pay for my ongoing medical under workmans comp but not my missed days wages?

    1. Francesca

      The issue of the flip flops should not prevent you from pursuing a claim for compensation. It could be that you will have to accept some contributory negligence due to wearing the ‘wrong’ footwear, but the key thing from where we stand is what caused you to trip and fall.

  5. I fell behind the building at work on ice and broke my wrist. They shouldn’t have had me out there knowing it was slippery. They have paid for doctors bills and I only missed one day of work. Would they be liable to give me anymore?

    1. Jimmy

      Hi, there is a potential for you to make a claim for further compensation in this case. The fact that the employer has already paid Doctors costs for you indicates that they feel a sense of responsibility here. Much will depend on the nature of the workplace, the role you were tasked with performing and what policy the employer has in place for inclement weather conditions in the workplace.

      Please call us on 01225430285 so that we can discuss this with you in detail with a view to helping you claim further compensation.

      Yours sincerely


  6. Twisted my ankle when I stood in a hole in the concrete floor in my place of work and I have not been paid my full wages

    1. Allan

      Thank you for letting us know about your accident at work. I am sorry to hear that you have sustained an injury to the ankle as a result of stepping in the hole on the floor.

      In the UK, employers are not obliged to pay staff full wages if they are off due to illness or injury. Indeed, the only requirement is to fund statutory sick pay (SSP). Certain employers will pay full wages – but this usually depends on contracts of employment and specific arrangements.

      In your case, as your employer has not paid you in full, the only option you have to try and reclaim your lost income is to pursue a claim for compensation against the employer. The hole in the concrete should have been covered or clearly sign posted with barriers to prevent accidents such as yours. So on the basis of your description of the incident, it would appear that you have a viable claim for compensation. When a claim for compensation is made, a claimant is able to claim a settlement for their injury – the value of which is based on medical evidence, the severity of the injury and length of time the injury lasted (or the long term prognosis if no full recovery has been made). Alongside this, a claimant is also able to claim special damages – this is recovering any lost income and other costs incurred as a result of the accident.

      Claiming compensation against an employer will not affect your job and you cannot be disciplined or face sanctions from an employer for doing so. Indeed, pursuing a claim for compensation after an accident at work that was not your fault is your legal right and one that we can help you action.

      We would be very happy to help you with this matter and pursue a claim for you with one of our specialist accident at work solicitors. We would need to take some basic information over the phone and then arrange for the right solicitor to take over the running of the claim for you. Please email your number to me so that we can speak with you and help you get this claim started.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Yours sincerely


  7. I fell off my ladder decorating at a restaurant
    I was hire to do a decorating job i fell 4 ft off the ladder broke my shin bone and broke my elbo
    Lose my job no money what to do need help do i have a case

    1. Karen

      Whether or not you are able to make a claim for compensation after falling from your ladder at work will depend on what caused you to fall from the ladder and what level of training/health and safety guidance you were given by your employer.

      We would need to know more about your accident before we can properly advise you, so please do respond to me with further details.

      Yours sincerely


  8. I was working in retail, and fell off a ‘top stocker’ (ladder) and have damaged my back. The day I fell my workplace completed an a injury form, and took photos of my back – where it had gone red and swollen. They asked me to go to the hospital so I did and I was told that I had injured my sciatic nerve. I gave it a couple of weeks and ended up going back to the Doctors because of the pain and they told me that all my muscles were contracting around the damaged area. I was given tablets and have taken naproxen, codomol, ibuprofen and Diazepam, but none of these have worked.

    Not long after this, I was in my home and picked up a bucket of water (not even half full) and ended up getting rushed into hospital in an ambulance. This was due to back pain and I was told that they thought it was a slipped disc – after checking an x-ray and saying that no bones had broken. However, I have not had an MRI scan. I have been back to the Doctors several times because of the pain and problems the injury has caused me. I am on anti-depressants because of how the pain is making me feel. The pain has stopped me from doing day to day things and I’m in agony even putting the hoover over in my home. I had felt suicidal and have a mental block that is making me feel that my life isn’t worth living with the pain I experience when my back starts playing up. Could you please give me some advice?

    1. Kait

      Hi, thank you for the email. I am sorry to hear about your situation and can sympathise with how this has affected your day-to-day life.

      We may well be able to assist you with a claim, but we’d need to speak with you so that we know more. Please email your number to me via [email protected] or call us on 01225430285. A quick phone call will enable us to find out what we need to know in order that we can advise you properly.

      We look forward to hearing from you.

      Yours sincerely


    1. Thank you for your enquiry. We have helped many claimants who have suffered injuries after falling from height – mainly as a result of an accident at work.

      I would suggest that you give us a call on 01225430285 so that we can discuss the claims process with you and talk to you about some of the people we have helped who have suffered injuries after falling from height.

      Most commonly, accidents at work that involve someone falling from height see injuries that include fractures, head injuries and sometimes even psychological trauma that can affect a return to work or bring on a fear of heights.

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