Snow and frost can look lovely when you’re looking out from the warmth of your home.
But step outside, and icy pavements, frosty steps and wet shop floors can make getting around a challenge.
While you might well have good boots and a steady foot, accidents in wintry weather can – and, unfortunately, do – happen, sometimes with serious consequences that leave us out of action and in discomfort for days or even months.
According to personal injury specialist Casey Weston of Heptonstalls, taking a tumble on ice, snow or frost often isn’t just ‘one of those things’.
In fact, depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation for any injury or loss suffered.
Employers have to provide a safe working environment, which includes taking “reasonable” steps to clear snow and ice from areas which could be slippery and hazardous.
That could mean clearing or gritting the pathway to the premises and the car park so at least the pedestrian areas are safe.
They could also be expected to grit or clear external steps and pathways, clear any spillages inside the workplace that could freeze and provide personal protective equipment such as non-slip shoes.
Casey points out that they also have a duty to carry out a ‘risk assessment’ to prevent injuries at work which includes times when staff may have to leave their normal place of work to, for example, visit customers.
If your employer has failed to take these precautions and you suffer injury as a result, you may be able to make a claim.
Out and about
According to Casey businesses, shops and supermarket owners also have a duty to take reasonable care to see that visitors are reasonably safe in using the premises.
That includes ensuring that paths and other areas on which visitors may walk are clear of problems like ice, frost and snowy sludge.
Warning cones to highlight potential slipping hazards and mats to mop up water can help minimise the risk of visitor taking a fall as well as keeping employees safe.
She added: “In many circumstances it may be possible to make a claim against a supermarket or business if you fall on untreated surfaces during wintry weather.”
Roads and pavements
If you suffer an ice-related accident on a public road, pavement or council-maintained land you may be able to make a claim – if the council or local authority has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it happening.
However, Casey warns that each case is decided on the individual circumstances.
If you have an accident on a public highway, it’s best to seek legal advice to see if you can make a claim.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in icy or wintry weather and would like to know how to make a personal injury claim, contact Heptonstalls Solicitors on 0800 917 8267 or visit www.heptonstalls.co.uk