Go to Top

Snow or ice causing accident and injury

I was driving into work the other day when the first snow fell, bringing the county of Essex to a grinding halt.

Some of my staff who live but two miles from my Chelmsford offices took up to two hours to reach work – how ridiculous.

As I was in my traffic jam I began thinking about the rights of people who are involved in accidents where there is snow and ice involved.

I asked one of my senior solicitors, Steven Rendell-Read, to provide some pointers, so the following article is thanks to him –  I hope you find it helpful.

If you are unlucky enough to have an accident because of snow or ice it is possible to seek compensation for injuries and losses sustained as result of the accident. However careful you may be when venturing out snow and ice can cause you to fall as a result of slipping on a road or a footpath, in car parks, at schools, sports grounds, hospitals and many other public and privately owned places.

Accident on highway

Highway Authorities are responsible for maintaining the public highways and therefore are under a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice. This is not an absolute duty and what is deemed to be reasonably practicable is a question of fact. What needs to be considered includes the type of highway in question, the types of traffic that may use it and whether it would be unreasonable for the Council to not do anything. On a rural road used mainly by tractors it would not be reasonable for the Council to grit. However, on a busy motorway it would be reasonable to grit unless the weather conditions were extreme. It must be noted though that the Council does not have to grit all of the highways in their area. Nor do they have to have someone on duty all the time to try and clear the snow and ice.

It has to be accepted that any Council would have an impossible task trying to make safe or grit/salt every highway, pavement or public area during a cold spell of weather. This has to be borne in mind when you consider whether a claim should be made.

Snow or ice on private land

If an accident occurs on private land due to snow or ice the injured person may be able to claim compensation from the owners or occupiers of the land. These could include accidents occurring at supermarkets, outside shops or on someone else’s property. The landowner/occupier has a duty take reasonable steps to ensure that those using the land or premises are reasonably safe in doing so. Those occupying the premises will need therefore to take account of weather forecasts, to have salt in stock, clear a safe path through the snow, put up warning notices or shut the premises if necessary.

Similarly if an accident occurs in the workplace due to snow or ice, including a slip on a wet floor at the entrance to a workplace, the injured employee may be able to claim compensation for injuries and losses sustained from the employer. The employer has a statutory duty, so far as is reasonably practicable, and depending on the size of the employer, to keep workplace traffic routes free from substances which may cause a person to trip, slip or fall.

If you have suffered an injury as a result of a slip or trip caused by the snow or ice and you want to know whether or not you have the right to claim compensation then my firm will be happy to advise.

, , ,