With red alert warnings issued and airports, stations and roads closed, the whole of the UK has been struggling with the latest extraordinary severe weather conditions.
What can you do if you’re injured due to slipping on ice or falling in the snow, or in a vehicle on icy roads?
Slipping and falling compensation claims
You can possibly claim in the following circumstances if you have been injured: –
- On business premises (shop, supermarket etc.)
- On your employer’s premises; your place of work or potentially elsewhere if on duty.
If the business owner(s) failed to make the area safe with gritting etc. there could well be a claim for a slipping incident.
Car accident compensation claims
Bad weather can limit visibility when driving and make the road surface slippery. Driving conditions are more dangerous which can result in accidents if drivers fail to adapt their behaviour. Anyone who has been involved in a an accident on the road as a result of ice or snow may be able to make a claim for compensation.
The Highways Act 1980 tasks local authorities with keeping the primary roads in their jurisdiction passable and safe to use. They will identify the relevant roads with the highest volume of traffic, so it is unlikely that a claim can be brought after an accident because of bad weather conditions on a minor road. The Highways Agency has a similar obligation for motorways. Each of these organisations are required to clear snow and ice from public highways which is commonly done by the spreading of grit or salt to prevent snow or ice from settling in cold weather. The authorities are only expected to take ‘reasonable’ steps to clear the highways as it is not possible to clear snow as soon as it falls, and ice can form far faster than the ability to clear it. Therefore, to make a claim the relevant agency must have failed to clear the snow or ice hazard and because of this was negligent, and the accident occurred as a result of this.
Each case is different and assessed on the facts. If the accident happened on a primary road and it can be shown that the local authority failed to take all reasonable steps to keep the road safe and passable, then a claim could be brought. Reasonable steps would include: –
- having a program in place for gritting and clearing snow
- keeping sufficient stocks of grit or salt
- observing weather conditions
- displaying warning signs
- closing very hazardous roads.
Just as local authorities have a duty of care, drivers are also expected to take extra precautions in poor weather by cancelling non-essential journeys and reducing their speed or fitting snow chains. Failing to modify their behaviour could cause a driver to be held partly responsible for the accident. A claim could still be possible, but the compensation would be apportioned between the parties.
Finding an experienced personal injury solicitor to represent you in making a claim is vital. At Simpkins & Co we have 25 years of experience in all kinds of personal injury compensation claims. We are accredited members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Law Society Personal Injury Panel.
Do you think you have a claim? It costs nothing to find out. Call us on 01425 275555 for your FREE initial consultation.