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.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a clearing snow accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming snow clearing injury compensation:

Introduction

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 a snow clearing injury claim?

A snow clearing injury claim should be possible if you were injured:

  • within the last three years, and;
  • another person was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
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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 a snow clearing injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee takes the risk out of making a snow clearing 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 a snow clearing injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my snow clearing 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 snow clearing injury claim?

If your snow clearing 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.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

How can Quittance help?

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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Snow clearing injury FAQ's

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.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

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.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a snow clearing injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the snow clearing injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your snow clearing injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a snow clearing 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 snow clearing injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a snow clearing injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 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 held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor