Shoulder injury after slip on ice was caused by leaking drain – water firm responsible


A Nottingham woman who slipped on ice which formed after a drain leakage has been awarded £13,000 in compensation.

On 6 January 2010 the 44 year-old community care assistant was walking along Hazel Grove, Nottingham. Her route took her past a row of garages, 1 of which was later proved to have a leaking drain.

Ice had formed on path

Unfortunately the cold weather had caused water in the area to freeze and become ice, which had formed on the pavement. Unable to see the ice in the dark – it was 6pm – the woman slipped and fell, suffering soft tissue injury and muscular damage to her arm and shoulder.

Muscle pains

Later medical reports revealed that the injury could have accelerated the onset of myofascial pain: a chronic syndrome which can affect any muscle in the body and provokes steady, deep and uncomfortable muscular pain and aching.

Water firm was aware of problem

Following our letter of claim to the responsible body, Severn Trent Water, it turned out the company was aware of the problem with the leaking drain even before our client was hurt.

It seems water engineers had been called out both pre- and post-accident to try and repair the leak but, for reasons unclear, had been unsuccessful. Although as a remedial measure the company dug out holes at the rear of the garages, the situation remained unresolved.

Duty of care breached

Given the facts – the leaking drain and the seeming inability of the water company to deal with it – we wrote to Severn Trent and alleged it was in breach of its common law duty of care.

Not only had the company failed to ensure there were no water leaks onto the highway, it had neglected to erect barriers and warning signs which might alert pedestrians to the hazard. In all there were 7 breaches of health and safety regulations by Severn Trent.

Among our duties on behalf of our client were arrangements for her to attend medical examinations and conferences of experts. In due course we negotiated a best compensation settlement for her of £13,000.

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