A seasonal negligence claim is similar to any other type of negligence claim in that in order for the claim to be successful, the claimant has to be able to show that their damages were the result of the actions or omissions of the alleged negligent defendant.
In addition to being able to claim for compensation for physical injuries, a claimant can also make a personal injury claim for damage to property or loss of earnings if they result from the actions or omissions of the alleged negligent defendant.
For a successful seasonal negligence claim, the claimant will be required to prove that the alleged negligent defendant had a legal duty of care for either the claimant, or the general public. The court will also have to consider if the actions or omissions of the defendant were not what could be reasonably expected. The damages must be shown to be the result of the actions or omissions of the defendant and the damages must be directly caused by the actions or omissions of the defendant. In addition, the court will consider if the alleged negligent defendant could have reasonably been expected to foresee the consequences of their actions or omissions at the time the damages occurred.
Seasonal negligence claims are commonly for injuries that result from slipping or falling on icy pavements. Whilst slips and falls can have minor consequences, in some cases they can cause serious injuries. The first step in preparing a seasonal negligence claim is to decide who was negligent. In the case of icy pavements and roads it is often the local council or a local authority that has responsibility for maintaining the pavements. In the case of falls or slips on private premises, it will be the occupier of those premises who will have the responsibility for ensuring that the walkways are safe and that any ice or snow are cleared.
Some claimants may believe that a council cannot be sued, however, whilst it is true that councillors and council officers do have some protection from being sued for simple accidents or negligence (known as public office immunity) it is possible to make a claim against a council. Local councils have a duty to clear snow, as section 41(1A) of the Highways Act 1980 makes clear – “a highway authority is under a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow and ice.”
In December 2010, when councils were considering restricting gritting to save money, lawyers warned that they could face compensation claims from motorists if there was an increase in accidents due to lack of gritting.
There are differing opinions, however, on whether a council can be sued for not clearing snow or ice. If you have suffered damages as a result of seasonal negligence you should contact a legal firm, such as Accident Advice Helpline, that has experience of handling claims in this area. Our Accident Advice Helpline advisers will be able to tell you whether you have a valid claim or not, and whether your claim is likely to be successful. We are also able to help in the preparation of the case. To discuss your claim with a member of our expert team dial 0800 689 0500 now.
Date Published: December 29, 2013
Author: David Brown