Severe weather increases the risk of injuries

16 Dec 2011

As high winds bombarded Scotland and the North of England this week many people have been left to deal with the damage which has been caused to their property. These conditions also increase the risk of people being injured. It may be possible to bring claims in respect of such injuries, if others have not taken reasonable steps to ensure property, land and roads are safe.

The BBC have reported that Grampian police have confirmed that several motorists have driven into fallen trees in the past week which have fallen onto the road during the strong winds. If the occupiers of the land in which such trees are located failed to adequately inspect such trees and any such failure has lead to them falling during the winds then it may be possible for such motorists to claim in respect of such accidents.

Earlier this year parents of a toddler crushed to death when a brick wall collapsed in high winds were entitled to bring a claim after a Court found that the local council had been to blame. Winds of up to 75 miles per hour had blown down a council owned boundary wall which had not been properly repaired. The Court found that the council's system of inspection was wholly inadequate and that they had been responsible for the incident.

A number of such accidents can also occur in the workplace or while someone is working. An HGV driver was successful in claiming for personal injuries when high winds turned over his lorry. The day before the accident there had been severe weather reports. However the Claimant arrived at work and was told that no adverse weather warnings had been received and he was to continue work as normal. His vehicle was subsequently hit by 80-90 mph gales causing it to overturn and resulting in extensive personal injuries. It was held that the Claimant's employer did not have adequate procedures in place to guard against severe weather conditions.

James Braund, a personal injury solicitor with Trethowans Solicitors, says "Claims involving high winds or adverse weather conditions can be very varied and particular. Whilst it is not possible to claim compensation for accidents that occur simply due to such weather conditions themselves, claims can be brought if injuries have been caused by negligence on the part of another party, such as employer or an occupier. If somebody is injured in such circumstances it is very important that they seek clear and expert legal advice in relation to pursuing any such potential claim".