Thu 21 Dec 2017

Slipping on Ice: Who's to Blame?

During winter, with the colder weather, slips on ice are all too common.  Such common accidents can cause serious injuries, but who is to blame?  

If you slip on a pavement, road or public area, it can be difficult to establish that the Council is to blame. There have been a number of court cases which have considered the extent to which the Council may be responsible for accidents on ice. 

In a recent case which was heard before the Scottish courts, a gentleman had slipped on black ice early on a Saturday morning at a public car park in Dundee. The Council were responsible for the car park, and for a number of other car parks around the City.   The Council did carry out gritting of the areas they were responsible for, but that did not include checking and gritting the car park where the accident happened early on weekend mornings.  Like all local authorities, Dundee City Council has limited resources.   It was selective in how its resources were spent, and in what areas it would grit.   The injured gentleman could not establish when the black ice had formed, and so he could not establish what system the Council could have put in place which would have ensured that area was gritted.  His claim failed.   The Council were not liable for his accident.

Cases against Councils can be difficult to establish.   However, if you have an accident at work or on a business premises (shop, supermarket, etc.), it may be possible to establish that your employers, or the owner of the business premises, are liable.   Employers have a duty to keep their employees safe - that includes keeping pathways and roads gritted in icy weather.  Owners of shops and other premises need to ensure that they are free from any danger, like icy surfaces.

What should you do if you have an accident? If you slip on ice, check you know exactly where it happened.  If it was at your place of work or within a business premises, it may be possible to make a claim.  Our accident lawyers can advise you on your chances of success of any claim, and can let you know what your claim may be worth.

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