I’ve slipped on ice or snow. Can I claim personal injury compensation?

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In usual circumstances – not involving ice and snow – it is often possible to claim personal injury compensation after a slipping accident and we have previously covered the subject of knowing whether or not you may have a valid claim for this. However, there is a big difference between suffering a nasty personal injury as a result of negligent health and safety practices and being injured after falling on ice or snow.

In winter we get many calls from clients who have fallen on icy paths and steps, and sustained nasty injuries – usually fractures to wrists and arms. But does that mean they have a claim? Unfortunately, in the vast majority of these cases, we are unable to assist and have to reject the claim. It falls down to a duty of care and the strength of liability against the people or authority responsible for the area in which the individual fell.

Typically, should someone slip and fall on a public footpath due to ice, it is highly unlikely that they would be able to prove sufficient liability against the local authority highways department responsible for the path to enable them to win any claim for personal injury compensation.

Ice and snow responsibilities

In usual circumstances, a slipping accident is generally caused by a spillage or a leak. In this case, a business, shop or restaurant has a responsibility to clear up the spillage in a reasonable time, erect a hazard sign to warn customers of a possible danger or to ensure that the leak is repaired. If the business can be shown to have failed to take these steps in a reasonable time, they could well be held liable for injuries sustained should a customer slip and fall. This is reasonable and can be labelled as ‘foreseeable risk’.

There is also a duty of care when it comes to ice and snow. For example, work yards where an employer expects staff to operate must be treated within a reasonable time of the ice appearing. Car parks and entrance ways at places of work or schools should also be treated – or signage situated to warn of the hazards. Steps and platforms at bus and train stations are also subject to higher duties of care.

If you fall in any of these places on snow or 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.

However, 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 that they should have ensure that the car park was free from ice, or fully gritted and salted.

The same applies to slipping on pavements if they are icy. Local authorities have a responsibility to grit/salt the roads and they do so in order of importance, with the 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 inclement weather. 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.

Road users such as motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists must also accept that using the roads in icy or snowy weather is inherently risky. However, 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 (a very difficult task!) you could then pursue a claim for compensation.

Find out if your claim could succeed

In any event, if you are unsure whether or not you can claim personal injury compensation as a result of slipping, falling, crashing or coming off of your bicycle as a result of snow or ice, the best thing to do is contact us. We’ll let you know whether or not we thing you have a viable claim and if so, help you to make your claim for personal injury compensation.

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  1. I slipped in a hospital car park where l work when l was going into work. I was walking in a path that’s designed for staff to walk on. Slipped fractured my ankle and dislocated heel. I had surgery and a still off sick. The Company responsible for gritting the place are refusing to take responsibility even though as soon as I fell, they went and gritted the path.

    • Have you got a specialist Solicitor representing your claim? If not, you should perhaps consider speaking with an expert specialist firm, such as ourselves. With regards to your fall, is there any evidence to prove that the path had not been gritted (such as an accident book entry in which that comment is made) or any evidence to confirm that the company that has the responsibility for gritting the paths did so immediately AFTER your accident? (such as supportive witness statements or a copy of a request for them to do so following a fall?).

  2. Whilst out walking our dog, with my husband, in March this year, on our local park in the heavy snowfall we had. I tripped over the base of a traffic cone and ruptured my achilles tendon. I was off work for 12 weeks with my leg in a cast/crutches and then an air walker boot. Im still having physio and struggling to walk properly. Would i be able to make a claim from our council.

    • It would be hard to prove negligence against the local authority for your tripping accident. Whilst the base of the cone was covered by snow, I would imagine that the rest of the cone was visible? Also, the cone was located to warn of a hazard and the local authority would have no control over the snow falling.

  3. I was involved in a accident 6 months ago and I am just about healing from it now. I was walking home one night and slipped on a train track crossing it was a very icy night and knocked myself unconscious on the line and a train ran over the top of me I sustained a lot of injuries and I am lucky to be alive. I would like to know if I would be able to claim?

    • It is difficult to advise as to whether or not the cause of your slipping accident would lead to a successful claim, but given the severity of your injuries and the long term implication of this incident, it would be sensible to further investigate making a claim for you.

  4. As an Nhs employee we are expected to make every effort to get to our regular place of work or nearest base during adverse weather conditions. I am a community worker and not part of an emergency service. Under a red weather warning on the 1st March I slipped on the stairs when leaving my home during a fresh snow blizzard sustaining a bi malleolar ankle fracture which required surgery. I do receive my regular pay for 6 months however do I have any rights as an employee regarding injury or if I should refuse to walk to work under such conditions in the future?

    • It is unlikely that you would be able to hold your employer liable for the conditions of the stairs at your home address and although you may be required to make every effort to get to work despite weather conditions, that is different from the employer obliging you to make it to work no matter what the hazards.

      As such, whilst your injury sounds awful and painful, we don’t think that you would succeed with a claim.

  5. Hi, I fell on ice on my way to work on the company’s property, I was off work with a full spinal whiplash for about a month. The company said as they gritted the area the night before that they are refusing liability, and that it was basically my own fault.

    • As the employer has gritted the area the night before, they may have a defence against any claim you were to pursue, but that should not stop you from speaking with us and our expert Solicitors because there could still be a claim. As we work on a fully no win no fee basis, contacting us so that we can have a more in-depth discussion with you to find out more about the area where you fell, what gritting policy the employer has and what the weather conditions were like is a no brainer. If we can’t take this further, it would not cost you a penny and we may well be able to identify a way of pursuing your claim.

  6. I was out on deliveries in the snow. I was at my forth drop when I opened the cab door, stepped on to the footplate, lowered myself down onto the road. My right foot slipped. I went down like a sack of potatoes and discovered later in hospital that I had broken my ankle, boarder line surgery. I have been off 13 weeks and intend to go back to work on Monday. I was asked if I wanted to consider sueing the company, to speak to the union. I don’t know what to do?

    • We would happily investigate this matter for you. Do you know if the footplate of your vehicle has a non-slip surface? Does your employer advise you to wear a certain type of footwear?

      There are a few important things for us to discuss with you regarding the accident but we feel that there could well be a possibility of attaching employer negligence here and that if so, we could succeed with a claim for compensation. Clearly, you have a serious injury and have lost income as a result. Therefore, we would like you to start a claim and send us some information. Our expert team will then be in touch with you to discuss your claim in detail and explain your rights.

  7. Hi i am a support worker that works in the community. Recently i slipped on snow outside a service users house and as a result have suffered a fractured leg and will be off work at least 8 weeks.
    Am i entitled to claim for anything?

    • As you may imagine, it is not always possible to claim compensation for an injury and lost income and this often applies in cases where someone is injured as a result of slipping on snow or ice.

      However, we think it is worthwhile for us to investigate a possible claim for you a little further and for you to speak to our specialist Solicitors regarding your situation and the nature of your accident. It could be possible to succeed with a claim for compensation if it can be shown that your employer didn’t provide adequate warnings to community workers such as yourself or correctly risk-assess your workload given the snowy conditions.

      Please call us on 01225430285.

  8. Going to my work as a carer, slipped on the snow sustained injury to my foot ankle back for X-ray on Monday , got big boot on my foot in severe pain can I claim against council or my work , for going out in bad conditions underfoot

    • It is unlikely that you would be able to hold the local authority liable for your injuries as they would not necessarily have a duty of care to remove snow or ice from public footpaths or to apply grit or salt to them either.

      However, there could be a possibility of pursuing a claim against your employer on the basis of a lack of risk assessment or adequate warning to you regarding the risks and providing knowledge to you as to how to minimise the risk of injury after a slip on snow. We will not know more until we have spoken with you.

  9. I slipped on black ice on a smooth paved area that’s notoriously slippy. This fall resulted in my knee being displaced and my patella split resulting in an operation. The pain I have endured has been excruciating and I’ve been told I will probably need a further operation and will have long term damage by causing an arthritic condition due to the injury.
    I have read that you say it’s not feaseable for councils to grit all pavements but I think this is very wrong especially on a pavement known for being prone to ice and in a very central area.
    Through no fault of my own I have been left with a permanent injury yet part of my council fees is surely to make sure pavements are safe to walk on on way to work. Also the council have put very smooth paving here which makes it a whole lot more dangerous as just a few yards further the paving has gritted surface which is far less slippy.
    Am I to accept I have no redress against them? If so I truly think it’s shocking as this will continue to happen as it did to someone else I know on the same day as my accident..
    The council will just continue its neglect
    Janette

    • It is very hard to pursue a claim for compensation after injuries sustained when slipping on an icy footpath. There is no strict statutory duty for local authorities to treat footpaths and in previous case law, the courts have largely found in favour of defendants in such actions. In most cases, the highways department treat roads in a hierarchical system, dealing with major routes (motorways, A-Roads, bus routes etc). It is hard to expect them to have the resources and man/woman power to grit and treat footpaths throughout their regions.

      We are not saying that you definitely don’t have a claim, but explaining how the ‘system’ works in this regard. The best thing to do at this time would be for you to forward some photographs of the area where you fell to us. If you could provide some close up shots of the path surface where you fell and also the surface a few yards away that is less ‘smooth’ as well as a few showing them together (from a distance), we can at least get our specialist Solicitors to have a look and give you their view?

      You can email any photographs to us at: justice@direct2compensation.co.uk If you do forward photographs, just draw our attention to your comment on this page and our response and we’ll be able to identify you and the details of your accident.

  10. Visitor
    Hi i fell on a massive patch of black ice outside my local shop. I skidded trued to balance myself but the patch was too big and i ended up flying backward and landing on my back. The problem is no one saw it happen and i went straight into the shop and told them to sort it out to which they poured boiling water on it. I have been led up all day in agony as i also suffer with fibromyalgia and have problems with my L5 and my S7 in my back and the fall has cause me major pain in my back neck shoulder and legs. My partner went back to where i fell a little while later to get a picture as i was in too much pain to think about it but it had gone. Would this cause a problem if i was to put in a claim. I am also attending a doctors appointment tomorrow to be checked over.

    • Carole

      Thank you for letting us know about your accident. I hope that you are recovering well.

      I would suggest that we should put your claim to our solicitors as I believe that you may well have a viable prospect of succeeding with this.

      We look forward to hearing from you.

      Regards

      Ian

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