Providing safe access to your property or business


As the weather turns colder and the snow and ice returns, it brings a range of problems for property owners in ensuring that their properties are safe for visitors use. Entering people's properties can pose a range of risks from uneven driveways, defects in the paving stones, snow and ice build-up on un-gritted driveways and debris such as fences or paving stones which can fall and cause injury. However, it is not just private properties where accidents can occur and car parks in particular can pose dangers to people using the same, especially in wintery conditions.

Personal Injury Claim - Occupiers Liability Act

Occupiers Obligations

The occupier of a property eg home owner or tenant in the property has certain obligations to lawful visitors to their property under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957. The owner or tenant has a legal duty to take reasonable care in ensuring that visitors will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which they are invited or permitted to be there eg post and parcel delivery workers. An occupier can be held liable for the defective condition of their property if it presents a foreseeable risk of injury to the visitors to the property. An occupier should ensure that there is a safe access route for all visitors. This can mean ensuring the paving is in a good condition and ensuring that it is free from slippery substances which can build up, such as ice, snow or even moss.

Whilst occupiers may make an attempt to deal with the problem, unsuccessful attempts can, in some cases, make situations worse and the fact that some steps have been taken by an occupier would not necessarily be enough to prevent liability from arising and a personal injury claim being upheld.

What to do if you are injured

If you are a lawful visitor to a property, either because you have been invited, you are a postman or milkman entering a property to carry out your job, or a customer using a shop car park, and you are injured whilst on that property, you may be entitled to claim personal injury compensation against the occupier of the property for the injuries that you have sustained as a result of the accident.

It is important to identify the specific cause of your accident. In cases of slipping on ice or debris falling onto you, it is normally obvious what caused the injury. In the case of a trip on uneven paving, it is key to identify the specific defect and, if possible, take photographs of the defect, showing clearly where it is and if possible the height of the defect. The height can be measured either with a ruler/tape measure or by placing an item such as a 50p alongside the edge which caused you to trip to show how high it is.

It is also important that the accident it recorded. Where the injuries sustained warrant an A&E or GP attendance, the cause of the accident may be recorded in your medical notes. It is therefore important that you explain to your doctor precisely how you sustained your injuries. If the accident occurred whilst you were carrying out your employment, you should record the accident in your employer’s accident book, even if it occurred whilst you were on someone else’s property and not necessarily at your employer’s place of business.

If you have been injured in an accident on someone else’s property and would like to discuss pursuing a personal injury claim, contact a personal injury solicitor to discuss the claim. They will provide you with advice on the next steps in pursuing an accident claim.

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