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Jenny Jones

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee open trapdoor trip and fall accident claim

Trapdoors can be extremely hazardous, whether they have been left open, are in a poor state of repair, or are otherwise misused. Tripping on an open trapdoor, or falling through one, can cause multiple broken bones and other serious injuries.

When an employer, public body, or occupier, fails in their duty to maintain a safe environment, the consequences can be severe.Trapdoor accidents can cause serious injury even in cases when the height of the drop to steps or the floor below is relatively short.

The legislation governing open trapdoor accidents falls into two categories. One category is where the accident occurred in a public access area. The other is where the accident occurred in the Claimant's place of work.

A personal injury claim is possible in both cases. The difference between them is who the Claimant would make their claim against, and the applicable legislation.

How would I claim if my accident happened in a public place?

This type of claim would be made as a member of the public. This applies if your accident happened on the property of a shop, pub, restaurant, or similar public space.

Your claim would be made against the owners of the property under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984. Under this Act property owners have a duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure the property is safe and does not cause injury to visitors.

There could be a legitimate claim for personal injury compensation if a trapdoor on the premises has been left open, unattended or without hazard signage.

How would I make a claim if my accident happened at work?

This type of claim would be made as an employee. This applies if your accident happened on the premises of your workplace. Your claim would be made against your employers under The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Section 12 (1) of the Regulations states:

'Every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be of a construction such that the floor or surface of the traffic route is suitable for the purpose for which it is used.'

An open trapdoor located in the middle of a traffic route around your working space could be viewed as being in breach of the Regulations. The condition of the trapdoor itself could also be grounds for a claim.

Your employer would be in breach if the trapdoor was not safely secured, or the door was damaged and broke underneath you.

Who do I claim from if a colleague left the trapdoor open?

Under the Regulations, your employer could still be held responsible for the accident, even if another employee was at fault. The legal term for this is vicarious liability. Legally, it is your employer's responsibility to ensure safety procedures are in place and that employees abide by them.

This means you would still make your claim against your employer, not your colleague.

To speak to a specialist about the circumstances of your injury and to identify who a claim could be made against, call Quittance on 0800 612 7456.