Snow Clearing Injury Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a clearing snow accident, we can help.
If someone else was responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim for a slip, trip or fall with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about how your accident happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will then identify who is legally responsible. Based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses they will also work out how much money you can claim.
We can help you make a slip, trip or fall claim, on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
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.
Who is responsible for snow clearance?
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.
Was the property owner negligent?
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.
Proving negligence can be difficult. 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
- Failed to keep sufficient salt or grit in stock
- Failed to clear paths when neighbouring property owners did
- 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.
Snow clearance and the private citizen
Private citizens often behave in a socially responsible manner and attempt to clear snow themselves. It is extremely unlikely that a good citizen will be liable if someone is injured in a slip accident at their property as long as they acted carefully when clearing the snow, for example, by taking steps to ensure the area did not become more hazardous. People walking over snow or ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves.
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.
Do I have an injury claim?
AN injury claim should be possible if you were injured:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Injury claim eligibility - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an injury claim on their own behalf.
What if I want to make a multi-party or group claim?
A multi-party claim (sometimes referred to as a 'group claim' or a 'class action') brought by a group of people who have sustained the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. How you start a multi-party claim will depend on the circumstances and we recommend you speak to a solicitor for more information.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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.
No win, no fee, no risk
No win, no fee takes the risk out of making an injury claim. If you do not win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
No win, no fee promise
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Why do most solicitors charge 25%?
25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. snow clearing injury claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.
How we can help you
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.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.