Displaying a hazard warning sign doesn’t always prevent success in slipping accident compensation claims

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Hazard warning signs make up an important element of claiming personal injury compensation for slipping accidents, particularly slips on wet floors which often happen at work or in a shop, and especially in supermarkets.  Any employer or shop should erect a hazard warning sign the minute they become aware that there is a potential hazard for people in their building, whether it is whilst mopping floors or after a spillage.  However, just because a hazard warning sign has been erected, it doesn’t necessarily get someone off the hook in terms of not being liable for injuries should a claim for personal injury compensation be made after a slipping accident.

Proving liability

As with all claims, to be able to succeed in a claim for personal injury compensation after a slipping accident, a claimant and their specialist solicitor will have to demonstrate that the people or business responsible for the area in which they were injured breached reasonable health and safety regulations and exposed them to the risk of injury.  With slipping claims, it’s important to show that a slippery floor wasn’t indicated or that a floor was made slippery yet nothing was done to warn people about it.

One thing that employers and shops are supposed to do is display a hazard warning sign – usually a yellow sign – at the site of a slippery or wet floor.  This ought to enable people to see that the area could be dangerous and then take extra care when crossing the floor area.  However, simply erecting a hazard sign may not provide sufficient warning or prevent the business or shop from being held liable for any accident, and subsequently a claim may arise.

Signs must be displayed correctly

Positioning of a hazard sign is vitally important.  A sign must be visible, unobstructed and placed in advance of the slippery area.  If a sign is displayed incorrectly, obstructed or in the middle of a slippery area that someone would have to already have walked part of to be able to see it, it becomes redundant and is no use.  Therefore, just because a hazard sign is around and about, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to claim compensation should you slip and fall.  It’s not always easy to know if you have a valid claim for slipping accident compensation.  That’s why we’re here.  You can contact us and ask our team, we know your rights and know what questions to ask in order to evaluate whether or not your claim is likely to be strong enough to proceed.

If you or someone you know has slipped on a wet floor and been injured, you may be entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation.  If you want to find out more about where you stand, how the claims process works and whether or not you could make a claim on a no win no fee basis, contact us and we’ll help you to get things started.

17 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

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Questions & Answers


  1. Paula

    Im in an awkward situation. Now i’m on my 3rd Solicitor on No Win No Fee, they’ve had my details for 3-4 months, they never call me, i call them but they never ring me back i’m totally ignored.

    Basically last May I had a Very Heavy Fall, I didn’t even see the yellow sign, at 1st i thought I slipped on Water but after my Clothes & Shoes were covered in Banana! Now this Solicitor says Supermarkets are Covered just by putting out a yellow Cone? My Brother is a Health & Safety Rep & tells me that is Not 100% just putting out a yellow sign.

    Through a wrong diagnosis in May when i had the accident, I went to my GP as I was in agony down my left side especially my Shoulder/Arm. She referred me to a Orthopaedic Trauma Consultant. X-Ray’s were done & the X-Ray showed the damage. Turned out I needed a Arthroscopy & my Rotator Cuff was Torn. Least this hospital sorted me out but its going to be a long recovery as it was Major Surgery that was done.

    They have the Video Recording from Tesco Supermarket. Twice i’ve been told someone will ring me back & nothing but i gave them all the details So Long ago.

    Could u advise me, of course i had to sign paperwork for them to go ahead with my Case but to me they have done nothing.

    I’ve read your site about accidents especially where a Yellow Hazard Cone was in place

    I feel this Solicitors haven’t done Anything for Me & I’m not Happy with them at all.

    Could you advise Me Please?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Erecting a hazard warning sign at the sight of a slip hazard (or any other risk to health) is an important risk reducer and can in some circumstances absolve a potential defendant from having to accept responsibility (liability) should someone slip and sustain injury. However, simply erecting a hazard warning sign does not in and of itself absolve a defendant of responsibility.

      Whether or not your claim for slipping accident compensation can succeed will depend on the nature of the cause of your fall. What was the slip hazard? How long had it been in situ? As you may imagine, it is not reasonable to be able to hold a defendant liable in the case of injuries sustained in a slipping accident if the spillage upon which they slipped had only been on the floor for a short while. As an example, if a child dropped an ice cream on the floor of a shopping mall and walked off and then 5 minutes later you came round a corner and slipped on that ice cream and sustained injury, it would be a reasonable defence for the shopping mall to argue that they had not had sufficient time to identify the slip hazard or do anything about it. In this case, as long as the shopping mall could produce a cleaning record to show that they had inspected the area within the past 30 minutes or so and not found any risk to health, the courts would find in their favour.

      However, if the spillage was shown to have been in situ for 30 minutes and nobody had erected a hazard sign or attempted to clean the slip hazard up, it is likely a court would find the shopping mall in breach of their statutory duties and a claim would succeed.

      Reply
  2. Emma

    Hi there,
    There was a door leading off to a corridor at work and as I opened the door to step out I slipped and fell hurting my back. There was a wet floor sign in the corridor but not infront of the door so how would I know it was wet?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      The provision of a hazard warning sign is an important risk warning to people in an area where a hazard is present. Erecting a hazard sign where there is a slip hazard is important and it can protect both the company or business responsible for the premises (the occupier) as well as the people who will access the area (employees or customers). However, a hazard sign needs to be erected in clear view for all users of the area and in the scenario you describe, there is a clear argument to be made that hazard signs should have been erected on both sides of the door.

      My initial view is that you have a valid claim for compensation as a result of the injuries you sustained when slipping on a wet floor that you were not made aware of being a hazard. If you would like to pursue a claim further, we’ll need to speak with you to get some further information. You can either call us on 01225430285 or we can call you if you use our website to make an online enquiry.

      Reply
  3. julie

    Hi Ian, I fell in a store while exiting the shop, and broke my elbow. After receiving cctv footage I can see that they have a wet floor sign up. Do i have a claim?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      The provision of the hazard warning sign does not mean that you have no claim, but it does indicate that the store were aware of a slipping hazard and had attempted to provide a warning to customers to take extra caution.

      In your case, if the hazard sign was clearly visible, but you simply hadn’t seen it you may struggle to take this further. However, if the sign was obscured from view or erected in a position that made it hard to see or appeared to indicate that a different area was slippery, you could seek to pursue a claim. With any matter like this, it is usually sensible to go through the claims process to see if our specialist Solicitors can do anything for you.

      Reply
  4. Paula

    I slipped in Tesco & apparently there was a Wet floor sign.
    I later found out when they sat me down i actually fell on Mushed Up Bananna. i’ve tried 2 No Win No Fee Solicitors that wouldn’t take my Claim on.
    Today i’ve returned again from the Hospital Consultant & have to have a Left Shoulder Arthoscopy & Decompression Surgery, I fell extremely heavily on the Shop Floor.
    Been in terrible pain since the accident on 31/05/2018.
    Surely a Wet Floor Sign is not sufficient when i have pictures that clearly shows it was Food i slipped on.
    I hope 3rd time round You can Help Me.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      The wet floor sign is simply a marking to indicate that there is a hazard on the floor and that extra caution is needed in that area. The fact that you slipped on squashed food rather than the wet floor is somewhat of a red herring in terms of whether or not you have a valid claim for slipping accident compensation.

      Unfortunately, whilst you have every right to feel aggrieved at the situation and your injuries, it would appear that you have very slim prospects of succeeding with a claim against the supermarket in question.

      Reply
  5. Alex

    Hi,
    I slipped and fell backwards in s big pile of spilt alcohol on the shop floor In Sainsbury’s. I didnt see the wet floor sign and I sustained soft tissue injury on my lower back, pain in elbows,wrists and rib cage. I have pre existing issues with my spine ( 2 metal rods in my back since the age of 12)The fall has also triggered my fibromyalgia to a point that my whole body is in pain. The mental anguish of the fall has brought on anxieties and depression for which I have been on medication for years. Am I able to make a claim?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      If there was a hazard sign in situ and you simply didn’t see it, you would struggle to succeed with a claim for slipping accident compensation as the defendants would argue that they had provided a notice that there was a hazard.

      However, if you didn’t see the hazard sign because it was obscured from vision or placed in an inappropriate location you may succeed with a claim for slipping accident compensation as there would be a case to make against the defendant for failing to provide an appropriate warning of the risk of slipping.

      Reply
  6. Kathryn Rawling

    I slipped & fell beside the pool in Dubai. I only saw the hazard warning sign once I was on the floor. I sustained whiplash & sore hip/back/coxyx. I had to take time off work (unpaid as I’m a supply teacher) & am uncertain on my feet still. Can I reclaim lost earnings?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      As you slipped and fell in a ‘foreign’ country, we are not sure as to whether or not you would be able to make a claim for your injuries within the legal system of the United Kingdom.

      You may be able to seek compensation in the UK, if your injuries can be attributed to the negligence of a UK registered company or if you were injured whilst in a premises you had booked after using the services of a UK based tour operator or property management company.

      Reply
      • Kathryn Rawling

        Thanks for the advice.

        Reply
  7. Gillian burrows

    Hi , in work on Sunday and some one put an mat on top of water , I put my foot on the mat and the mat moved and I jurded my back , I did not fall I have just pulled my back , filled an accident form in and have been to my doctors still sore but I can not stay off to long I do not get paided and we need my money to live , I was just asking can I claim for my full wages because it was not my fault

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Gillian

      Hi, the scenario you describe would give you grounds to pursue a claim for compensation – both for your lost income and also for the injuries sustained.

      If you are in the UK, please call us on 01225430285, we’d love to help you.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian Morris

      Reply
  8. Bernadette McKeever

    Hi

    I have had a accident at work .. the cleaner had just left the toilet in which he had cleaned … i went to the toilet and seen the sign ,,,, so i walked around the sign ,,, then i fell flat on my face ,,,, i had knocked myself out for a few seconds ,,, then i realised i had broken my wrist ,, i found out it had been broken in 4 places ….. the ambulance was called …. i believe i do not have a case at all due to the wet sign that was up …… due to this i am losing earnings in wages .. can you please tell me if this is the case ib regards to claiming loss of earnings ,,

    Kind Regards

    Bernadette

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Bernadette

      Thank you for commenting. I am really sorry to hear about your terrible wrist injury as a result of slipping on a wet floor in the toilets at work.

      As you state, a hazard warning sign had been erected and you therefore walked around it. Whilst a hazard sign has been erected and you were therefore aware that there was a possible slipping hazard, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot succeed with a claim for compensation against your employer or the contractors responsible for the cleaning.

      A hazard warning sign is an indicator of a risk of slipping or other hazard, but it does not in and of itself absolve an organisation or person of any responsibility for an area being dangerous. It could well be that a just erecting a hazard warning sign in the toilets where you fell is an insufficient or inadequate attempt to minimise the risk of injury. If it can be shown that the toilet floor was left excessively wet, or if the floor is known to be extremely slippery when left wet, one could argue that the toilets should not be cleaned when still in use (i.e, they should only be cleaned when the workers are no longer present). Whether or not we are able to pursue a claim for you and whether or not a specialist solicitor would be able to succeed will depend on the specific details of your fall. One thing that is relevant is that the extent of your injury is clearly severe and with this in mind, the value of any claim would also be substantial. The possibility of obtaining a substantial compensation settlement value is something that a Solicitor will consider when assessing whether or not they can pursue a claim on a conditional fee agreement (no win no fee) basis. Whilst the strength or otherwise of liability in a claim is always an important factor, a higher value claim settlement may give a Solicitor greater reason to pursue your claim – even if liability is not a ‘given’.

      I would be happy to discuss the specifics of your accident and any possible claim for compensation and loss of income with you to see if there is any viable way of pursuing a claim to recover your lost income etc.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Best regards

      Ian

      Reply
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