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 have any questions about liability or whether or not your accident scenario warrants a claim, please call our team on 01225 430285, or if you prefer, we can call you back. We know your rights and can help you to understand them. We’ve successfully helped many clients claim compensation for their injuries and we’d love to help you, too.

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Questions & Answers

  • Brett

    Should a pub display a height warning sign on a wall in their car park if there is a much higher drop on the other side of the wall? There is no warning for people on the pubs property that there is a danger from the height differential to prevent a customer who is unaware of the hidden height difference from one side to the other, from jumping over the wall.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      There is unlikely to be a need to display a warning sign in the circumstances you describe. Walls are not objects that are designed to be used to access or leave a premises and patrons of the pub should be using the entrances or gates provided.

      However, if the low wall was in the car park with a large drop behind it, you could argue that there should be some sort of fence or barrier to prevent people from falling over the same.

      Reply
  • Noor

    How quickly does a company need to erect a sign for a broken lift after they have become aware that it was broken? Is there a specific time limit in which they have or should a sign be placed on the lift as soon as they are made aware of an issue?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      As soon as the fault or hazard is reported to the responsible party, they are on notice and should act immediately to erect signage or withdraw an item from use.

      Reply
  • Milly

    Hi leaving work last night I went to exit the school building through the hall. The doors were open and a yellow hazard sign placed at the hall entrance to indicate the hall floor had been washed so therefore take care. As a result I slowed myself and looked to see a drier path through as the laminate flooring was very shiny with surface wetness . As I continue into the hall I slipped and fell on the wet floor and after a trip to A&E discovered I have fractured my foot.

    Am I at liability for choosing to enter the hall when a wet floor sign was visible? The hall doors were open for staff to walk through (a yellow sign at each door) but there were no extra cones to condone the wet area off limits indicating that we should not enter.
    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      As there were hazard signs posted at each end of the area, it is likely that the courts would not be willing to find against your employer in this matter.

      Reply
  • Lorraine

    Hi. My parent slipped in a hospital on a wet floor. There was no sign. The hospital are lying and saying there was a wet floor sign. What can she do?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Without either an accident book entry, an independent witness or photographs to confirm that there was not a sign on display it is very hard to do anything to demonstrate that the defendant is being dishonest in their denial of the claim.

      Reply
  • 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
  • T

    I slipped at work in staff toilets there was a spillage outside the toilets wet floor sign in situ but seperate by 2 doors and a corner leading into the toilets which unknown to me had recently been mopped. I have hurt my back and now work are saying that the wet sign covers not only the spillage outside in the corridor, but also inside the toilet?! Paramedics were called.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      There is a valid case to pursue a claim for slipping accident compensation here. The erection of a hazard warning sign is an important indicator of the risk of injury by slipping. However, the location of the signage is vital too and it is important that people are made aware as to where a risk is. In this case, it would be expected that the sign provided was placed where the slip hazard was situated and that an area through two doors and around a corner would need a separate warning.

      Please use the ‘start a claim’ page of our website to make further contact with us in order that we can start your claim for compensation. Alternatively, you can call us to find out how we can help.

      Reply
  • 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
  • Charlie

    I am I am a 65 year old male on social security disability, recently I had a slip-and-fall at McDonald and aggravated my old back injuries along with other injuries. Can I file a claim for compensation? At the main entrance to the bathroom there was a wet floor sign, however in the handicap stall separated from the main bathroom there were a leak around the toilet, no wet floor sign near the leaking toilet.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      The provision of a hazard warning sign is an important physical warning that there could be a slipping hazard present. However, simply placing a hazard warning sign out doesn’t in and of itself prevent a business or organisation from being liable if someone then goes on to slip and suffer injury.

      A hazard warning sign needs to be erected in the correct location, clearly visible and it should mark an obvious hazard. In your case, you mention that a hazard sign was erected outside of the toilet entrance but that you slipped within the confines of the disabled access cubicle. Given that the floor of that unit was wet because of the toilet leaking, it would be reasonable to expect that the toilet in question was repaired or put out of use until repair, or at the very least, that a warning sign was erected in an obvious position within the actual toilet.

      With this in mind, my initial view is that you may have a valid claim for slipping accident compensation. This is something we would like to look further in to for you and as such, please call us on 01225430285 or use the ‘start a claim’ page of our website to get in touch.

      Reply
  • Kimy

    Our local shop is mopping the whole floor surface of shop (39 minutes before closing). They put up a yellow hazard warning sign to be careful if wet floor.) I stated surely they can be sued if someone slips but advised not as warning sign). Surely this is not true advise they can mop half the floor leaving a dry other half then in last few minutes). Not happy if risk as have herniated disc and already had surgery? If I was to slip?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      There is no prescribed ruling that would indicate that the local shop opting to mop the entire floor surface in one go is unsafe or overtly dangerous. However, by making the entire floor wet and potentially slippery, the store would have an obligation to ensure that all lawful visitors to the store are given adequate warning that the floor may be slippery. As such, as long as the store are working sensibly and erecting hazard warning signs in clear visible locations (clearly visible upon entering the store and on each wet floor area), they are likely to have met any requirements they would have a responsibility to meet and would not be liable if a customer were to then slip and fall.

      Reply
  • 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
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