Winter accidents – part 2 – occupiers claims

06 Mar 2013

With snow having again been prevalent, it is inevitable that accidents and injuries have occurred due to the adverse outdoor conditions. 

Accidents can happen on property owned by someone else as a result of a build up of snow or ice. If someone is injured as a result then they may have a potential claim against the occupier of the property. This could include a person slipping on ice whilst visiting shops, hotels, restaurants or other such establishments.

Under the current law the occupier of a property has to take care to ensure that a visitor will be reasonably safe whilst using the premises for the purposes permitted.  The occupier must take steps to limit the risk of injury as far as possible, perhaps by clearing snow or ice, gritting, limiting access to certain routes or warning visitors of the increased risks.

James Braund, solicitor at Trethowans LLP specialising in personal injury and clinical negligence claims, states that “it is not always possible to completely eliminate all risks from ice and snow. However there is a legal duty upon occupiers to take reasonable steps to make their property safe. The question of what is or is not reasonable is likely to heavily depend upon the individual facts of a case. Potential claimants should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible to find out whether they may have a claim”.