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Being injured after a slip or trip doesn’t necessarily mean you have a valid claim for personal injury compensation. Here we will help you to understand whether or not the circumstances surrounding your accident mean that you are likely to succeed in your claim against the responsible establishment, and that you should make a claim for slip and trip compensation.
Table of contents
Responsibility for the accident
Slipping accidents can obviously take place anywhere, but to claim compensation you need to prove that responsibility for the accident lies with a third party rather than yourself. Shops, restaurants, libraries and business establishments, for example, all have a responsibility to ensure people’s safety. If they fail to do so and accidents occur as a result, they can be found to have been negligent and liable to compensate the injured party.
Some of the most common claims are made by those who have slipped on a shop floor made wet by a spillage, a leaking pipe or freezer unit, or by cleaners mopping. Many other claimants are injured after having slipped on a wet floor at work or tripping on uneven and broken pavements. But slips can be caused by a number of hazards, and just because they exist does not mean they are at fault.
Clearly, if you slip and fall after running around mucking about or jumping from a high step onto the ground, any injuries you have are going to be seen as being your own fault. You can’t claim personal injury compensation if an accident was caused by your own actions! Therefore, the first question to ask yourself is: Was someone else responsible for the accident?
Sometimes during a claim, responsibility for the accident can be shared between the two parties – this is known as split liability. For instance, if you slip or fall in a nightclub while drunk or a bit tipsy, but the cause of your accident can be attributed to the negligence of the nightclub in ensuring your safety, both factors could be taken into account and the solicitors will agree how much each client is liable for the injury. Here you might find you are 25% at fault and so you only get 75% of the compensation.
Hazard warning signs
It’s common knowledge these days that when making a floor wet on purpose, a business or premises will erect a yellow ‘Hazard Warning Sign‘. This sign gives you the knowledge of a potential hazard and puts you on notice that you need to take extra care. If you have slipped on a wet floor in a shop, restaurant or business and there was no hazard sign erected, you are likely to have a valid claim for compensation. The 3rd party could be seen as liable for your injuries by failing to provide a warning of a foreseeable risk to your safety.
However, in some circumstances, the erection of the yellow hazard sign is insufficient. We often see this in claims after supermarket accidents. For example, the supermarket has a leaking freezer unit in their store. The floor gets wet and they call out an engineer. If they erect the yellow sign, they’ve covered themselves. But if they just erected a sign and didn’t bother calling the engineer and left the unit leaking for weeks and weeks, the sign would become redundant and they would still be liable for not removing a known hazard in a reasonable time frame.
Reporting the accident
So you’ve slipped or tripped and injured yourself through no fault of your own, but what next? The 2nd question you should ask yourself is: Did I report the accident and ensure that it was properly recorded? Was it noted in an accident book?
As with all accidents that lead to someone wishing to make a claim for personal injury compensation, it’s all about reporting the details of your accident to the right people. If you’ve slipped on a wet floor in a private establishment (a business premises, a supermarket, a cinema, a restaurant etc) you must make every effort to ensure that the party responsible for running the premises is informed. Any location open to the public should have an accident book and a way of recording incidents. By recording the incident, you are providing proof that you fell in their premises and that your injuries were caused on their patch.
Unless you are severely injured and incapacitated, you should report your accident and injuries immediately and ensure that they are noted in an accident book. If the 3rd party tell you they don’t have an accident book, or won’t let you have access to it, there are things you can do. If this is the case, look for a witness and get their details. If you can’t do that, take photos or send a letter by recorded delivery (keeping a copy for yourself with proof of postage) reporting the incident to the business or establishment.
If all this seems a bit complicated, or you haven’t done any of the above, don’t worry – if you contact us we can talk you through it and help you to complete the necessary steps.
Are your injuries serious enough?
The 3rd question to consider is: Were you sufficiently injured to seek medical treatment from a hospital or your GP?
But alas, it’s not enough to just be injured, the injury has to be severe enough to provide a sufficient level of quantum to enable the claim to be placed. Quantum is the posh Latin term for value of the claim used in the legal world. To ensure that the injury value is sufficient, it is usually the case that an injured client will need to have suffered from their injury for a period of at least a few weeks. To take ankle injuries as an example, if you sprained your ankle mildly and recovered within a fortnight, you would struggle to bring a claim. But if you sprained it badly, tearing the ligaments and spent 6 weeks on crutches and then had 5 physio sessions, your claim would easily pass the quantum test.
For the sake of a claim, its always best to ensure that your GP is made aware of any ongoing problems with an injury. To put it bluntly, if you suffer in silence and don’t return to your GP, you won’t be able to claim compensation for the ongoing injury. You could miss out on a substantial sum of what you are actually entitled to receive.
If your injuries don’t settle and you notice discomfort a few weeks or months later, or if you’re not sleeping or feeling depressed because of your injuries, make sure it’s on your medical records.
If you haven’t had medical treatment, it is likely that your injuries will not be seen as sufficiently serious to warrant a claim as medical evidence is needed to support your claim. If you have been suffering in silence and haven’t seen the GP, you still can. If the GP is happy to note that your injuries are consistent with those suffered in a slipping on a wet or dangerous floor surface, you can then prove your injuries and pursue a claim.
Making a successful slipping accident claim
These are the main criteria you need to check to see if you can claim:
- Was the accident someone else’s fault?
- Do you know the identity of the liable party (business name and address etc)?
- If not, did you report the incident to the police or local authority?
- Have you sought medical treatment from your GP or hospital?
- If not, are your injuries still presenting symptoms that your GP can diagnose?
If you can answer the above positively, you may well be entitled to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation on a No Win No Fee basis. Our solicitors will claim for the following on your behalf:
- The pain and distress caused to you by the injuries sustained (the value of the injury element of the claim will be determined by medical evidence and a review of your medical records.)
- Associated costs and losses (special damages) – such as lost income if you are unable to work as a result of the injury or damage to personal items – such as your spectacles or mobile phone and property.
- Restrictions on your ability to fulfil your usual activities and social life.
- Whether or not you have required any post accident care.
The five tips below will help you to succeed with your claim and receive the maximum amount of compensation available:
- Reporting. Make sure that you report your accident at the earliest opportunity. Ideally, you should report your accident, any injuries and definitely the cause of your slip immediately. The details should be recorded properly within an accident book or other similar incident reporting system. Make sure you note the cause of your slip and the lack of hazard warning signs etc.
- Witness details. If you slip in a public place, it is embarrassing. However, people are caring and will want to help you. If anyone helps you because you have been injured in a slipping accident, please get their name and contact number if you can. This will greatly help your claim and provide additional evidence to support your claim.
- Photographic evidence. We realise that this might not be possible. If you are in serious immediate pain and discomfort, you’re unlikely to be thinking about taking a photograph of a wet floor, a spillage or a loose item on the floor. However, if you can take a photo or two, it may be really useful in forcing the 3rd party to admit liability.
- Doctors & Hospitals. Make sure that you see your GP, or attend A&E at the earliest opportunity. As soon as you are aware of any injury that is not simply a minor bruise, you should seek medical attention. To have the best chance of succeeding with a slipping accident claim, it is important to be able to provide the medical evidence needed to support your claim. A lack of medical evidence may undermine your claim for injury compensation.
- Expenses. Keep a record of any expenses you incur as a result of injuries caused in a slipping accident. When claiming slipping accident compensation, you will be able to make a claim for lost income and other expenses which is known as a special damages claim. If you have receipts for costs such as prescriptions, taxi fares, parking costs, care or any other cost you have incurred, you may be able to claim those costs back. If you are unable to work because of your injuries and do not receive sickness pay, you may well be able to reclaim any lost income alongside a settlement to cover the pain and discomfort caused by your injuries.
How Direct2Compensation can help you claim
Whether you need information about solicitors, the claims process, or advice as to how to go about making a claim, we’re ready to help.
Not only will you find our website a great resource for information about claiming personal injury compensation, but you’ll also find that our team of staff are personally knowledgeable, friendly and supportive.
We work with some of the very best personal injury compensation solicitors around and will find the right one for your particular situation. We offer a caring approach and are able to answer your questions in simple layman’s terms. And because we’ve worked so hard to take the stress out of claiming compensation, you can forget about worrying and concentrate on recovering.
If you have any questions about 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 slip and trip injuries and we’d love to help you, too.