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Slipped on an Icy Pavement? Who’s Responsible?

By Head of Occupiers and Public Liability

From the UK weather forecasts – some predicting a second ice age this winter, others that there’ll be no snow at all – it will be very difficult to know when to be ready for any risky weather conditions this winter.

Icy Pavement

Whereas the wet weather is problematic for pedestrians when public areas are puddled and autumn leaves pose a risk, ice and snow are perilous when precautions haven’t been made.

Who’s responsible for a slip and fall injury on an icy pavement?

If you have an accident on a road or pavement then the Highway Authority may be responsible in the first instance. The Highway Authority is usually your local council and they have a duty to ensure that reasonably practicable steps are taken to ensure that the road or pavement is not endangered by snow or ice. ‘Reasonable practice’ must consider such things as the limited budgets of local councils, but, usually, it is expected that roads and pavements will be gritted, and that in the rare event of thick snow, it would be ploughed to make safer conditions in which to travel and for pedestrians to walk.

When there is ice and snow, liability for an accident on your own property is another matter. Landlords, business owners and home owners have a responsibility to ensure measures are taken to see that accidents caused by ice and snow are minimised. If someone is injured on your property you face the risk of a public liability compensation claim, in which a court may hold you responsible for paying any damages and legal fees to the person who is injured. Just as the local council carry the risk of icy conditions on roads and public areas, as the owner of a property you should take precautions to ensure no-one injures themselves on your property.

If you’re not sure where the law stands on this point, see for yourself here.

Slater and Gordon personal injury lawyers have extensive experience in handling slip and fall compensation claims in public places. For more information see our case studies.

If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors for a free consultation on 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.