Compensation for Accidents on Ice and Snow

When winter comes, so does the ice and snow and ice is hazardous to drive and walk on. Councils do their best to keep the roads gritted to prevent accidents but they can't keep every pavement free of ice and it’s not always the responsibility of the council to clear public areas. 

Accident on Ice Statistics

In 2014/15 statistics show that 2,919 people in the UK were admitted to hospital after falling on ice or snow. It’s a big problem and landing on ice can cause some nasty injuries, including broken bones and head injuries. 
If you fall on ice and you believe someone else  could have prevented your fall, you could make a compensation claim. However, accidents on ice are common. If someone falls on ice in an area that should have been cleared there will be no claim for compensation if the injured person did not take some common sense precautions for their own safety.  Therefore, an injured person should be wearing sensible footwear and clothing and not partaking in activity that is unnecessarily hazardous or dangerous e.g. running or walking at speed.

Responsibility for Clearing Ice or Snow

Highways and Pavements

Determining who should have cleared the area of ice and snow may not be straightforward. The council is responsible for clearing public highways and pavements however there is no expectation that they can clear every road. Their focus is expected to be clearing major routes and so claiming for slips and trips on minor pavements and roads can be problematic (although not always impossible). 

Shopping Areas 

Where the responsibility lies with regards to accidents and ice and areas of public shopping is sometimes unclear. Often shops and businesses share areas such as walkways and car parks and sometimes these communal areas are owned and maintained by the council. So, who is responsible for making the area safe?  A good accident compensation lawyer can help determine who your claim is against. However, it is important to note that if a shop or business is open and trading then they have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for their customers – whatever the weather. 

The Working Environment  

Wherever you work, all employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe working environment. This duty of care extends to the outside of their premises too. If open for business car parks and walkways should all be cleared of ice and snow. Companies should have a policy to ensure this happens and designated personnel who take on this task. If a company has made no attempt, or a bad attempt, to clear the ice and an accident happens they may be liable to pay compensation. If the conditions are so severe that the working area cannot be made safe then the business should be closed and employees sent home. 
Proving liability for a slip or accident on ice may not be straightforward, which is where you need an experienced personal injury solicitor. Please contact us for more information. 

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