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Claiming for a slip, trip or fall

Can I make a slip, trip or fall claim?

While in public places, such as supermarkets and bars, or while walking on pavements and footpaths, you have the right to feel safe.

Businesses and local councils have a legal duty to follow health and safety laws designed to keep you and other members of the public safe. For example, this includes carrying out detailed risk assessments, clearly marking wet floors, and fixing cracked or potholed pavements within a reasonable timeframe. If they’ve failed to take the proper precautions and you’ve been injured as a result, then it’s likely you could make a personal injury claim to help cover the physical, emotional and financial impact your injury may have had on you and those around you.

It can be difficult for you to know whether you’re able to make a claim. The best way to find out is to get in touch with a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438, or fill in one of the secure contact forms on this page to arrange a call back.

Claiming against your local council

Under the Highways Act 1980, your local council is responsible for making sure any pavements or pathways are well maintained and safe for use. They should do the same for roads, parks and other areas which are open to the public.

Your local council’s responsibilities include:

If you’ve suffered from a slip, trip or fall because of the poor condition of a pavement, you could make a compensation claim against the council to cover the costs of your injury.

Slips and trips in privately owned businesses

Most people visit businesses such as shops, restaurants, bars and supermarkets every day. The people responsible for maintaining those spaces are also responsible for taking measures to make sure you and other customers are safe.

They should follow ‘due diligence procedures’ to keep you safe from harm as far as they reasonably can. If they fail to do so, then accidents can be caused by:

Business owners and managers should make sure any spillages are cleared away as quickly as possible, and that wet floors are signposted in the meantime. They should also keep walkways or aisles clear of obstacles and trip hazards to avoid accidents from happening.

DID YOU KNOW:Any freshly cleaned floor should have a ‘wet floor’ warning sign on display.

Slips, trips and falls at work

Employers have a duty to make sure your work area is kept tidy and clear of obstacles, so that you can feel safe at work. Equally, they should provide training and guidelines to all staff to make sure other members of staff are making the workplace as safe as possible.

Slips, trips or falls are the most common cause of injury at work according to Health & Safety Executive statistics. Accidents can happen, especially in high risk industries like construction or agriculture, but your employer still has a legal duty to do all they can to avoid accidents from happening. This includes taking measures to avoid slips, trips and falls, carrying out regular risk assessments and ensuring you have the right safety equipment to do your job.

Slips, trips and falls can happen anywhere, but are especially likely in factories, where packaging or other objects might be left on the floor.

Slips, Trips & Falls Video
Video providing key information on claiming for an injury caused by a slip, trip or fall, and how many of these claims are settled under a fast-track scheme.

What will my compensation cover?

Your personal injury solicitor will take the full impact of your slip, trip or fall into consideration when putting together your claim. This means you’ll receive compensation to cover two main areas:

Once you’ve made contact with a solicitor, they’ll look closely at your case to make sure that they’re fully aware of the effects your injury has had on your life, and will bear this in mind when negotiating your compensation to make sure you receive the full amount you’re owed.

Some more specific examples of the kinds of costs which could be covered include:

If you’re thinking of making a compensation claim, or want to know if you do have a claim, get in contact with an expert legal adviser. You can talk one for free, friendly advice on 0800 234 6438 or by filling in the quick claim form.

Do I need to collect any evidence to help with my claim?

If possible, it can be helpful to gather some evidence so that your solicitor stands the best chance of being able to prove that the accident was due to negligence and that you were injured as a direct result.

For example, this could include:

Can I make my claim on a no win no fee basis?

The simple answer is yes – the vast majority of slip, trip or fall claims are made on a no win no fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay your solicitor any money if your claim isn’t successful. The benefit of no win no fee is that there’s no financial risk involved – if you don’t receive any compensation you won’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

If your claim is successful, your solicitor will charge a ‘success fee’ out of your compensation. This amount will have been agreed before starting your case, but you can be sure this will be a relatively small portion of the money you receive.

How long do I have to start a slip, trip or fall claim?

You’ll usually need to start a personal injury claim within three years of your injury, otherwise you might be ‘time-barred’ under the Limitation Act 1980. If this happens then the court might refuse to hear your case. If you’re claiming on behalf of your child, you can do so up until their 18th birthday – after that they have until they turn 21 years old to make a claim; and if you’re claiming on behalf of someone under a mental disability, the three-year period does not start until they’ve regained their mental capacity.

How will my claim take?

If your slip, trip or fall has caused relatively minor injuries, it’s more likely to be settled quickly. In fact, it’ll usually take no more than a few months to complete if the other party admits responsibility for causing your injury straight away. However, it’s not uncommon for the other side to deny responsibility (liability) at first, and this can mean your case takes longer, as your solicitor will have to work with experts to prove that your accident was their fault.

If you’ve suffered from a serious injury, then this might also cause your case to take longer to complete. This is because your solicitor will want to wait until you know the effect your injury might have on your life in the future, so you can receive all the compensation you deserve to cover this.

About the Author

Lucy Trevelyan LLB

Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years experience writing about the law.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.