If a slip, trip or fall injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If you have been injured in a slip, trip or fall, we can help.
You can make a compensation claim for a slip, trip or fall with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
If someone else was responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
In this article
Am I eligible for slip, trip or fall injury compensation?
You will be able to claim compensation if you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Determining who is to blame for an accident is not always black and white.
In our recent 2023 Public Liability Injury Claimant Survey, 17.45% of respondents believed they may have been partly (or wholly) responsible for their injuries.
The legal term for cases where an injured person was (to some extent) responsible for their injuries is 'contributory negligence'. If there is fault on both sides of a claim, it is possible to pay reduced compensation on a split liability agreement.
How long after a slip, trip or fall injury do I have to claim compensation?
In most cases, you have up to 3 years from the date of your accident or injury to start a claim.
For an injured child, the three-year limitation period begins on their 18th birthday, giving them until they are 21 to start a claim.
How long do I have to start a claim?
You have three years from the date of your slip, trip or fall to start your compensation claim.
However, most solicitors will not accept a claim if the three-year deadline is close (within a few months). Slip and trip claims can take some time to gather evidence, carry out a medical assessment and negotiate a compensation settlement with the defendant. If the defendant doesn’t accept responsibility for your accident, your claim can take even longer.
If you are thinking about starting a No Win, No Fee claim, you should speak to a solicitor as soon as you can. You can discuss your options with a claims specialist with no obligation to proceed if you are not ready.
How common are slip, trip and fall injuries?
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), slips, trips and falls account for 30% of workplace injuries.
Injuries resulting from uneven pavements, trailing cables, poor lighting and wet surfaces, are common occurrences in supermarkets, public transport, shops, pavements, parks and other public places.
Falls from height
Falls from height are among the most common causes of serious accidents at work.
8% of workplace injuries involve a fall from height. In construction, as an example of a high-risk environment, 18% of injuries resulted from a fall from height.
Slips, trips or falls on cellar or basement steps are common as they are often smaller and steeper than other stairs.
If you fell down cellar steps in your own home, it would be difficult to identify another party who was liable. However, if you fell down cellar steps in a rented property, you may be able to make a compensation claim against the landlord.
A landlord may have failed in their duty of care if they have not ensured that the cellar steps are safe to use. This may include:
- Broken, sloped or unsafe steps
- Narrow steps
- No handrails
- Inadequate grip protection on the step
- Steps cluttered with items left by the landlord that could form a hazard.
If the accident occurred at work, your employer could be liable for failing to ensure that the cellar stairs were safe.
If your employer or landlord knew about the danger but failed to act to prevent the accident, you may have grounds to make a compensation claim.
Serious and long-term injuries
Some accidents cause life altering conditions, including spinal injuries, concussion and brain damage.
Serious head injuries can lead to seizures and psychological injuries. Complex hip, ankle and wrist fractures can also lead to permanent loss of movement and chronic pain.
If you have suffered a debilitating injury that affects your daily life and ability to work, you can claim compensation for lost earnings (including future lost earnings), care costs and home alterations.
Assessing my injuries
When you claim compensation for a slip, trip or fall, your solicitor will arrange an independent medical assessment with a suitable medical professional.
You will not be charged for the medical and the medical will be arranged at a convenient location for you.
A medical report will detail the severity of your injuries and a prognosis for your recovery. The assessment will take existing conditions into account, such as a previous back or hip injury made worse by the accident.
See examples of typical slip, trip and fall injuries:
Typical slip, trip and fall injuries handled by personal injury solicitors include:
- Sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries, including wrist sprains and ankle sprains that require physiotherapy.
- Colles wrist fractures, broken arms and finger injuries.
- Achilles tendon injuries and ankle fractures.
- Knee injuries, including patella fractures, ligament and tendon damage.
- Skull fractures, jaw fractures and other facial injuries that may require reconstructive surgery.
- Hip fractures, which may require surgery including hip replacement surgery.
Who is legally responsible for my injury?
Slips, trips and falls usually happen when a business, council or building landlord failed to maintain, repair or implement proper safety measures to keep employees and members of the public safe.
When making a compensation claim, your solicitor will need to establish that you were owed a duty of care by another party.
A duty of care is when a person, company or organisation has a legal obligation to safeguard the well-being of others.
UK laws impose a duty of care on employers, local authorities, landlords and the owners and occupiers of other premises, to protect workers, visitors and the public from harm.
Who is legally responsible (liable) for your injury will depend on where your accident happened:
Slips, trips and falls at work
If you were injured at work, your employer will probably be liable.
Businesses have a legal obligation to ensure that workers:
- are provided with a safe place to work
- are trained to carry out their role
- have the necessary tools and equipment
- are provided with any necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Even if your injury was due to the negligence of a co-worker or fellow employee, the employer will usually be held liable under the principle of vicarious liability.
Slips, trips and falls in public places
If you were injured in public place, like a shop, the owner or operator of the public space may be liable. If, for example, you are injured in a park or on a public road, the local authority may be liable.
The owner or operator should have public liability insurance to pay cover compensation if you are injured.
Slips, trips and falls at home
If you live in a rented property, your landlord has a duty of care (under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985) to maintain your home to a safe standard.
A claim against a housing association, local council or a private or commercial landlord may be possible if you were injured in rented accommodation and that was unsafe.
If your injury resulted from a defective product, a claim against the manufacturer or supplier of the defective product may be possible.
A claim against a building contractor may be possible if sub-standard work results in injury.
Can I claim for a slip on snow?
Each year, around 7,000 people are admitted to hospital as a result of slipping on snow or ice. The consequences of a slip, trip or fall can be quite serious, with injuries ranging from severe bruising and whiplash to broken bones.
The majority of slips occur on public highways that have not been properly gritted during a wintry spell. Accidents may also occur on business premises such as a shop or supermarket, train stations and other public places, at a place of work or even in a private home.
Where the property owner has failed to take reasonable steps to make the area safe, and you are injured as a result, you may be able to a claim for compensation.
Deciding who is responsible for the snow clearance depends on where the accident took place.
The local authority, for example, has a duty under the Highways Act 1980 to ensure that public pavements and roads are safe to use so far as reasonably practicable. The owners of shops, offices, stations, car parks and similar places are required to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances for the safety of visitors under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957.
Where the accident occurs at work, a claim may be brought against the employer who has duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to provide a safe place of work. This duty extends to avoiding slipping hazards in the external areas used for accessing a workplace such as a path or a staff car park.
To bring a successful claim the injury lawyer must show that:
- By failing to clear the snow and ice, the property owner was negligent; and
- The claimant suffered injury as a result.
Local authorities and property owners are required to take "reasonable" steps to clear the area - they do not have to ensure that pathways are clear and safe for use at all times. Indeed, constantly clearing snow and ice would be impossible during a particularly wintry spell.
Each case will turn on its own facts. If the slip occurred on fresh snow, then it is unlikely that a claim can be made. The local authority or property owner could reasonably maintain that they did not have enough time to eliminate the slip hazard and the court likely would accept that defence.
If, on the other hand, it can be shown that property owner or relevant authority:
- Did not take account of weather forecasts, or
- Failed to keep sufficient salt or grit in stock, or
- Failed to clear paths when neighbouring property owners did, or
- Failed to put up warning notices or close the premises if necessary,
Then an argument may be made that the property owner behaved in a negligent manner. Compensation may be sought for any resulting injuries.
The Government has issued guidance for people clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside their home or other public spaces. This is known as the "Snow Code." Advice includes:
- Clearing snow and ice early in the day when it is fresh and easier to move
- Using salt or grit rather than water to clear the ice as water can refreeze and turn into black ice, making the area more dangerous
- Using extra salt on steps and steep pathways
- Taking care not to shovel snow in a way that blocks other people's drains or paths
- Clearing other people's paths wherever possible, especially if neighbours are elderly or disabled.
Can I claim if I slipped on ice?
Although it is impossible to control the weather, it is possible to reduce the risk of ice slip accidents by keeping roads and footpaths cleared. But who is responsible?
- Ice slips on Roads and Pavements - The Highways Act 1980 states that the Highway Authority - usually the local council - has a duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the pavements and roads are safe to use.
- Ice in or near shops, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and other public places - The Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 states that occupiers have a legal duty under to take reasonable care to see that visitors are reasonably safe whilst using their premises. This extends to ensuring paths, walkways and other areas are cleared of ice and snow.
- Ice slips at work - Employers have a legal duty to make sure that their workplace is reasonably safe. This includes clearing snow and ice as well as all other health and safety measures.
It may not be possible for a local authority to clear every road and footpath as soon as snow or ice forms. Most authorities have a maintenance plan which prioritises the busiest roads and footpaths. If the authorities have had sufficient time to clear or grit a pavement then you may have a right to claim compensation for the ice slip injury.
In a public place, whilst it is not always reasonable to expect the occupier to clear all snow and ice, there are many steps that may be taken to ensure visitor safety. The larger the public place, the greater the number of visitors, and therefore the more steps the occupier may be expected to take.
Occupiers should take note of weather forecasts and be prepared to clear and grit pathways. They can also put up warning notices - or even close the premises. It is not a defence to state that members of the public ‘invited' on to the premises do so at the risk of slipping on ice.
At work, an employer that does not take reasonable steps may be negligent. The general rule is the larger the workforce the more steps the employer might reasonably be expected to take.
Main walkways leading from car park to place of work should be cleared or gritted, even if they are unable to clear the whole car park.
Public places and workplaces should also ensure that excess water can be removed from visitors' feet to prevent interior surfaces becoming wet and slippery.
Can I claim for a slip on a wet floor?
Wet floors are a significant cause of slip accidents resulting in injury. The UK Health and Safety Executive found that wet floors cause 90% of workplace slip accidents.
Wet floors are also a cause of slip and trip injuries in public spaces. Your solicitor can assist with wet floor claims in restaurants, supermarkets and local authority premises.
If you were injured from a slip accident on a wet floor, it may be possible to make a compensation claim.
The likelihood of winning your claim will depend on the circumstances of the accident. This can include factors like the weather, such as in the case of a shop floor that becomes dangerous after heavy rainfall. The shop management may argue that they did not have a reasonable amount of time to react and place a wet floor sign.
Your claim has a better chance of success the more detail and evidence you can provide to support your version of events. This evidence can include witness statements and photos of the area of the spill.
In the wet shop floor example above, if it had been raining for some time before the accident, it is more likely that the occupiers of the shop failed in their duty to protect customers visiting the premises from injury.
How much compensation can I claim for a slip, trip or fall injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Slip, trip or fall injury
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
Average slip or trip injury general damages compensation
The following slip or trip injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Ankle injury||Minor||Minor injury with full recovery||Up to £12,490|
|Ankle injury||Moderate||Full recovery or with mild ongoing symptoms||£12,490 to £24,170|
|Ankle injury||Severe||Severe injury with permanent symptoms||£28,460 to £45,510|
|Back injury||Minor||Full recovery within 3 months||Up to £2,230|
|Back injury||Moderate||Full recovery within 2 years||£2,230 to £7,170|
|Back injury||Moderate||Full or nearly full recovery within 5 years||£7,170 to £11,370|
|Elbow injury||Less serious||No significant long-term problems||Up to £11,450|
|Elbow injury||Moderate||Some long-term problems||£14,230 to £29,100|
|Elbow injury||Serious||Severe and disabling injury||£35,610 to £49,850|
|Knee injury||Less serious||Minimal ongoing symptoms||Up to £12,490|
|Knee injury||Moderate||Mild long-term symptoms||£13,490 to £23,810|
|Knee injury||Serious||Less severe long-term disability||£23,810 to £39,510|
|Pelvis and hip injury|
|Pelvis and hip injury||Minor||Soft tissue injury||Up to £3,590|
|Pelvis and hip injury||Moderate||Serious but with no permanent disability||£11,450 to £35,610|
|Pelvis and hip injury||Serious||Less extensive fractures||£56,270 to £71,280|
|Shoulder injury||Minor||Soft tissue injury||Up to £7,170|
|Shoulder injury||Serious||Dislocation||£11,610 to £17,450|
|Wrist injury||Minor||Wrist fracture recovering within one year||£3,210 to £4,310|
|Wrist injury||Moderate||Taking around two years to heal completely||Up to £9,620|
|Wrist injury||Serious||Causing permanent pain and stiffness||£11,450 to £22,270|
Can I claim compensation for a psychological injury?
If you have experienced psychological issues in addition to physical symptoms, you are not alone.
Our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey found that 29.03% of claimants reported a psychological injury, with 70.97% of these relating to a physical injury.
Even relatively minor slip, trip, or fall injuries can lead to anxiety that the incident could repeat, or fears like basiphobia (post-fall syndrome). These concerns can reduce someone's mobility further, hampering recovery and leading to social isolation and depression.
Compensation for psychological harm can help you access mental health support and therapies not always available through the NHS.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA). The Judicial College publishes a table of guidelines for personal injury awards, to help solicitors to calculate damages.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your injury such as pain medication and psychological support.
What are the average compensation payouts for slip, trip and fall claims?
Average compensation payouts are not a useful guide when calculating your compensation, for two reasons:
- Your compensation will be based on your specific injuries, not on an average. Different injuries, with different recovery periods, will be awarded different levels of compensation.
If your injuries were serious, leading to long-term or permanent symptoms, average payouts could be much less than the amount you will be awarded.
- You can also claim compensation for the financial losses and expenses you specifically faced after your slip or trip. If your injuries affected your ability to work for a longer-than-average period, you should receive compensation for the total value of your actual lost earnings.
How likely am I to win my slip and trip claim?
The likelihood of winning your claim will depend on the circumstances of your accident.
Your solicitor will gather evidence to prove:
- the extent of your injuries,
- that another party owed you a duty of care, and;
- that their negligence caused your accident.
How does this work?
If, for example, you broke your wrist and sprained your ankle after tripping on a loose paving stone, your solicitor will ask questions like:
- Who was responsible for maintaining the pavement?
- Were they aware of the loose paving stone?
- Did they attempt to repair the damage or warn of the trip hazard?
- Did anyone witness your accident?
- Is there any CCTV or other evidence to support your claim?
In most cases, proving that the defendant owed you a duty of care is straightforward.
By law, employers owe a duty of care to their employees. Shop owners and occupiers of premises open to the public owe a duty of care to anyone on the property (even trespassers).
Can I still claim if I didn’t get medical attention?
Yes. Although it can be more difficult to prove that you were injured after a slip, trip or fall if you didn’t seek immediate medical help, you may still be able to claim compensation.
A personal injury solicitor will work with you to gather evidence in support of your claim, including evidence of time off work, and any communication about your injury, like SMS or email you sent to other parties. You will also be assessed by a medical professional.
If you reported the accident or received help from anyone working at the scene, the incident should be recorded in an accident book.
What evidence should I obtain to help my claim?
Regardless of whether the defendant accepts liability, there are steps you can take to help build a stronger case:
- If you have been injured at work, report the incident in your employer's accident book.
- If you have been injured in a public place such as a shop, report the accident to the owner, management or local authority.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident, including the hazard that caused your slip, trip or fall.
- Take the names and contact details of any witnesses to the accident.
- Keep any communication you have about the accident and your injuries, including letters, emails and SMS messages.
Even if some time has passed since the accident, it is still worth considering the above and doing what you can to strengthen your case.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Only around 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
How did your injury happen?
The claims process will vary depending on how your slip, trip or fall injury happened. Click the icons below to learn more:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.