Helen Powell, Associate Solicitor
Before embarking on a claim for personal injuries you must first consider who is to blame for causing your accident and whether they have the means or insurance in place to settle any such claim.
You must prove the other party is to blame for causing your accident because they acted negligently and/or are in breach of their statutory duty.
You must prove that your injuries were caused by the accident in question.
We receive calls each year from potential clients asking whether they can claim for injuries sustained as a result of slipping on snow or ice.
If the snow and ice is on the highway
It appears that such a claim cannot be brought against the highway authority in negligence but the highway authority do have a statutory duty to remove any obstruction of the highway resulting from ‘accumulation of snow or from the falling down of banks on the side of the highway, or from any other cause.’ (s150 Highways Act 1980). Highway authorities must ensure ‘so far as is reasonably practicable that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow and ice.’ (s41 (1A) Highways Act 1980). What is reasonably practicable is a matter for the courts.
If you consider the usual snow fall as in the attached photograph, then I do not believe the highway authority would owe you a duty of care if you slipped and injured yourself. However, if there is an accumulation of snow on the highway, we would have to consider the particular circumstances and whether or not it would be reasonable to expect the local authority to have removed it.
If the snow and ice is on any other land
You may be able to bring a claim against your employer if you slip on snow or ice on their land. The claim can be brought if they are negligent and/or if they breach their statutory duty. For example, if you work in a delivery area outdoors then one would expect your employer to ensure the ground is gritted and cleared of snow.
You may be able to bring a claim against an occupier of land if you are a visitor to that land and slip on snow or ice. Again, the claim can be brought if the occupier is negligent and/or if they breach their statutory duty. For example, if you visit a supermarket you would expect the entrance area to be gritted and cleared of snow.
Please give our Personal Injury Team a call on 0121 233 4333 for further advise. We act on a no win no fee basis.