Slips, trips and falls because of icy conditions under foot are all too common – but the fact is, they can be avoided.
Under section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, the Highways Authority has a responsibility to ensure “so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice".
In other words, they have a responsibility to see that icy paths and highways are gritted. In the event of an accident, the difficulty is that the Highways Authority is judged by a standard of what is “reasonable.” The presence of ice, snow or frost on the pavements which leads to the accident will not in itself be sufficient to find them at fault.
Alternatively, if you fall on someone's property as a result of snow or ice you may have a claim for compensation against them as the occupier or owner of the land under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. For example, this would be the case if you slipped in a car park, hotel or leisure centre.
The owner or occupier of the land has a duty to take reasonable care that a visitor is reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he/she is invited or permitted.
This duty is not an absolute one and the court in considering whether or not the owner or occupier has acted reasonably before looking at the facts of the particular accident. For example, the court will consider whether the area had been gritted, whether warning signs were in place, whether there had been a weather warning of snow and ice which was not heeded and how long the ice/snow/frost that caused the incident was present.
Similarly, an employer has a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of its employees. Your employer should take steps to ensure that walkways into the building where you work are gritted if there is snow or ice. And if they cannot be gritted, that area should be closed or cordoned off.
If you have been unfortunate enough to have had an accident because of a slip or trip due to snow or ice, remember to take details of any witnesses to the accident as soon as possible. And if you can take photographs of the area, all the better!
You should also attend your GP surgery or hospital and make sure that you explain how and where your injuries were sustained.
All of these things will help you with your claim for slip and trip compensation. Ring Recovery Assist today and speak to one of our expert personal injury solicitors, who are experienced in dealing with claims for compensation following snow or ice accidents.
We can offer free advice about your injury – and remember, we operate on a no win, no fee basis.
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