03 Jan Personal Injury due to Slip or fall in snow and ice
With temperatures dropping at this time of year, there is a lot more snow and ice around. If you have been injured due to a slip, trip or fall on ice or snow you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim.
Determining Negligence in Slips, Trips and Falls due to snow or ice
Some of the most common forms of personal injury claims result from slips, trips and falls. With many injuries, a person’s fall and resulting injury is an accident with no one at fault but the injured parties themselves, such as where the injured person:
- was in fact trespassing on the relevant property at the time of the accident
- acted in a reckless or dangerous manner causing their own injuries
- did not reasonably notice the dangerous condition and act to avoid it
- Or, where the owner took normal and reasonable steps to avoid the danger
However, when a person has been injured due to slipping, tripping or falling on snow or ice, negligence works slightly differently.
Tripping or falling on ice in a public place
Irish public authorities are not liable for damage arising from “nonfeasance”, meaning that, if the public authority fails to exercise a statutory power causing loss or injury that would have otherwise been avoided, the public authority is not accountable in law for that failure. This means that if a local authority does not clear ice or snow from roads or footpaths, they are not legally accountable.
However, public authorities are still liable for certain failures, if it can be proved that they had a duty of care which they breached.
Slipping on ice on private property
Similarly, private persons adjoining public areas (such as roads and footpaths/pavements) have no liability to clear those areas of ice or snow. However, they may have a liability if they caused the ice on the road, or place the snow on the footpath. For example, if a private person removes snow from their own property to public property, they are liable for any injuries that could arise from this. Another example would be if a private person puts water onto public property (for example water running from a tap on their own property to the road) that freezes to ice. These acts would not be considered naturally occurring, and would instead be “man-made” public nuisances created by the property owner.
What to do after a slip, trip or fall due to snow or ice?
To see what to do after slipping, tripping or falling due to ice or snow, please see our Accidents in a Public Place page.
What to do when you slip or trip on snow or ice while at work?
If you receive an injury due to slipping on ice or snow while at work you may be entitled to compensation as your employers have a duty of care towards you and all their employees. They must to everything within reason to keep their employees from injury due to slipping or falling on snow ice while in the workplace. Areas they must keep clear of snow and ice include car parks, work yards and pathways.
Your employer can not fire you for making a compensation claim at work, as this would be unfair dismissal. For more information on slipping on ice or snow while at work, please visit our Accidents at Work page.