Winter often brings us icy and potentially dangerous conditions across the UK, especially in areas that experience significant snowfall such as the Scottish Highlands and Pennines. During such inclement weather, the risk of slips, trips, and falls increases significantly.
Local authorities and property owners are required to take reasonable precautions to prevent ice slip accidents. So, what should you do if you or a loved one falls on an icy path? Can someone else be liable if injuries are incurred?
Generally speaking, you could be entitled to claim compensation for slipping on ice if your accident occurred because of the negligence of another party and they owed you a legal duty of care.
In this guide, you can learn more about ice slip accident claims. Whether you want to know if you have a valid claim or how to start one, we’ve covered all the key points you need to know.
Can I Claim Compensation For Slipping On Icy Public Pavements?
Ensuring safety on public walkways and pavements falls within the purview of local councils and the highway authority. Therefore, such parties could be held responsible for injuries caused by falling and slipping on an icy pavement that is next to a public road or street.
The legislation that sets out responsibility for safety on public pavements in the UK is the Highways Act 1980. Under section 41, this law mandates the highway authority (which is usually part of a county council) to keep passages along roads safe, and to ensure that snow or ice does not put members of the public in danger.
As a result, local councils usually grit major and main roads to keep hazardous ice from forming, following snowfalls, hail or sleet showers. If they fail to carry out this duty and it causes you to get injured after slipping on an icy pavement, then you may have a reasonable chance to claim for compensation.
However, most authorities prioritise areas that receive plenty of foot traffic. So, you may have a better chance of claiming compensation if your accident happened on a busy high street as opposed to a quiet, residential area.
Nevertheless, if you have sustained injuries and are unsure whether to start a claim, it is always worth discussing your case with a legal advisor.
It may be possible to check if your local council has a published list of roads they have committed to grit in severe weather. If it becomes apparent that the pavement/road where you slipped should in fact have been gritted, but was not, that could increase the odds of getting compensation for your injuries.
However, the responsible party would have a strong defense if the area had been recently cleared/gritted, but fresh snow or ice had just formed at the time of your accident.
The circumstances under which someone slips and falls on an icy footpath or road can have varying implications. Therefore, talking to an experienced specialist will help to establish whether you have a valid claim to seek compensation for slipping on ice.
What If I Slipped On Ice At Work?
It is also possible to slip and fall because of icy surfaces whilst at work. If working outdoors is a big part of your job, then this puts you at a higher risk of injury.
The good news, though, is that your employer has a duty of care to keep outdoor areas of their premises devoid of ice and snow. Failing to do so and allowing a preventable slip incident to occur could amount to negligence, thus making your employer liable for your injuries.
Although making a compensation claim for personal injury against your employer may seem daunting, the law is on your side.
Being dismissed or subjected to intimidation tactics as a result of pursuing the claim is unlawful. Also, any compensation you receive from a successful claim would usually come from an insurance company, and not directly from your employer.
Can I Seek Compensation For Slipping On Ice Outside A Private Business Premises?
Whether it is a restaurant, supermarket, bar or shop etc, any business premises that you visit should be safe for all visitors.
Owners of any establishment are bound by the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957, which obligates them to have precautions in place that safeguard all users who visit their premises.
For instance, businesses should be prepared to grit and clear car parks, as well as pathways providing access to their buildings during icy weather. Other steps they can take to prevent ice slip accidents include:
- Putting up warning signs
- Clearing snow & ice early in the day
- Providing alternative paths or routes when the main walkways are too slippery for safe use
- Closing the premises when the weather is so bad that it presents a safety hazard to members of the public and employees
If you get injured following a slip on ice or snow because such precautions were not taken, then you may be eligible to make a claim.
Am I Eligible To Get Compensation For Slipping On Ice?
Besides slipping on ice on public paths, at work, or whilst visiting a business premises, there are many different places where this type of accident can take place.
For instance, this could happen at a bus or train station, in a public car park, or even within a school or hospital grounds, the list is endless.
The location of the accident is critical, because it establishes who may be liable to compensate you. However, regardless of where you get injured, three important criteria must be met for you to be eligible to claim compensation for slipping on ice.
Someone Else Must-Have Acted Negligently
The party at fault must have owed you a duty of care. For example, if you slipped on an icy pavement under the management of a local council, you have to prove that the authorities neglected the pavement, which made it unsafe for members of the public.
The Accident Must Have Caused You To Sustain Personal Injuries
The reason for this, is because compensation for these types of cases is sought to try and offset financial burdens brought on by an otherwise avoidable accident. Therefore, it wouldn’t be plausible to make a claim if you managed to escape unscathed after slipping and falling on ice.
The Accident Must Have Happened Within The Last 3-years.
That is the statute of limitations (time limit) for personal injury cases. However, for accidents involving minors, this time period begins from the victim’s 18th birthday.
What Should I Do After Slipping On Ice To Seek Compensation?
After sustaining injuries from an ice slip accident that was not your fault, there are several steps you can take to start building a case.
Report The Accident
To begin with, it is essential to report the accident. If it happened at work, notify your employer, to record the matter in the official accident book.
A business owner is legally required to do the same for accidents that involve members of the public. If you slipped on ice whilst walking in a public place, then report the matter to your local council.
Gather Witness Details
Get contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident. People who stick around to assist can supply witness statements that could immensely help your case.
Take photos of the accident scene with your mobile phone, as well as photos of the injuries you sustained.
Seek treatment for your injuries, no matter how minor they may seem. The medical report from your GP or hospital will be a critical piece of evidence to support your claim.
Keep records of all expenses related to the accident. For instance, this includes any hospital bills as well as receipts and invoices for medications, and travel costs to and from doctor appointments.
Once you have everything in place, you can proceed to get in touch with a personal injury solicitor to help you make a claim.
Typically, legal experts who specialise in this area of litigation represent clients on a ‘no-win-no-fee’ basis. Therefore, even if you can’t afford legal counsel or don’t want to end up with a bill should the compensation claim be unsuccessful, there is no reason not to seek redress.
How Much Can I Get As Compensation For Slipping On Ice?
Fall accidents caused by slipping on ice can cause a wide range of injuries.
For instance, people who fall backwards and land on their backs may experience ruptured discs or soft tissue damage. It is also possible to experience whiplash and injure the neck in such cases.
People instinctively tend to spread out their arms during a fall to try to regain their balance. Therefore, arm fractures and, in particular, injuries to the wrists are commonplace for these types of accidents.
Others may twist an ankle, sprain a knee, or sustain other types of injuries after slipping on ice.
The more severe the accident and injury, the more it may cost to treat, but you can seek reimbursement for all your medical costs under the category of ‘special damages’.
This category also covers any out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages resulting from your injuries.
It is difficult to estimate how much compensation you could receive in a successful claim, as every ice slip accident is different.
The pay-out you get awarded for pain and suffering falls under ‘general damages’, which will depend on the severity of your injuries, the time taken to recover, and any long-term care you might need.
Where To Get Help
Whilst it may be impossible to control the weather, it is possible for councils and businesses to mitigate the risks of harm to others during hazardous conditions.
If you slipped on ice and suffered a preventable injury because a second party acted negligently, a solicitor can evaluate your case and determine whether or not you have a chance to make a valid compensation claim.
To get free, no-obligation advice use the form below to arrange a chat with a personal injury claims advisor.