Compensation Claims for Slips, Trips and Falls
Injuries caused by slips, trips or falls are unfortunately very common. In fact, research by insurance companies suggests that as much as 50% of accidents resulting in injuries to members of the public are as a result of trips or slips.
The type of injuries sustained by slipping on a wet floor or tripping over some form of obstruction are wide-ranging. A relatively minor fall might result in sprains, bruising or lacerations. But a heavy fall or an awkward landing can lead to very serious injuries such as broken bones, facial injuries or brain trauma.
If you have slipped, tripped or fallen over due to another person or companies negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation for any injury you have sustained, as well as any financial losses incurred.
Jump to section
- Can I claim for a slip or trip?
- Who can be held responsible for a slip, trip or fall?
- Common causes of slips, trips and falls
- Common injuries sustained by slips and trips
- What are the time limits for making a claim?
- How much compensation can I claim for a slip or trip accident?
- What evidence will I need to support my claim?
- How long does the claims process take?
- Will my claim be made on a No Win No Fee basis?
Can I claim for a slip or trip?
To have a valid claim for personal injury compensation following a slip, trip or fall, you must be able to answer yes to the following questions:
- was somebody else at fault for the accident?
- did you sustain an injury or injuries as a result of the accident?
- did the accident happen within the past 3 years? (there are some exceptions to the 3 year rule, which you can find more about here)
If you have answered yes to each of the above three questions, you may be entitled to pursue a claim against the party responsible, whether this is your employer, a supermarket, a local council or a restaurant.
Don’t worry if you are not entirely sure who was at fault for your accident, as it is not always immediately apparent. A friendly injury solicitor will be happy to discuss what has happened to you to help determine who is to blame for the accident and subsequent injuries you have suffered.
If it is your child who has been injured due to a slip or trip in a public place, such as a shop, it may be possible to make an injury claim on their behalf. For more information on this, read the section below about claiming on behalf of a child.
Who can be held responsible for a slip, trip or fall?
As with all personal injury claims, it must be possible to hold another person or company at fault for the accident that caused your injury. It is this third party, or in most cases their insurance company, that will pay any compensation awarded to you.
Who is held responsible for your accident will depend on where and why you have slipped, tripped or fallen oven. If you have tripped on a damaged pavement for example, it may be possible to make a compensation claim against the local council.
Supermarkets, cafes, pubs, shops and other businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure their premises are safe for both visitors and employees. Under health and safety laws they must take reasonable steps to prevent accidents occurring. Regarding slips and trips, this could include the following:
- ensuring spillages are cleaned up and dried quickly
- ensuring clear warning signs are present to highlight that a floor is wet
- keeping walkways and aisles clear of obstructions and trip hazards
- maintaining floors and steps in good condition
- highlighting any potential hazards, such as damaged flooring or steps
If a business fails to take these health and safety steps and it results in you being injured due to a slip, trip or fall, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation.
Common causes of slips, trips and falls
In many cases, slips, trips and falls can and should be prevented if common sense steps are taken. However, before measures are taken towards prevention, it is essential to identify the main causes of these type of accidents.
- Spillages – spillages on floors, particularly in shops and supermarkets, are a leading cause of slip injuries. From spilt drinks and liquids to ice cream and pieces of fruit, there are lots of items that can cause potential slip hazards. Even once the area has been cleaned, it can remain slippery for quite some time. It is therefore important that warning signs are used to warn people about the potential risk of spillages and wet floors.
- Trailing cables – tripping over trailing cables is a potential risk in many offices and other work environments. If cables from computers, telephones, machinery and other electrical equipment are not gathered or secured properly, they can create trip hazards. If cables are to trail across any walkways, these should be properly secured to the ground to prevent people from tripping over.
- Defective floor surfaces, carpets and rugs – if the floor coverings of a shop, restaurant or business are not adequately maintained, they can become dangerous through general wear and tear. For example, a carpet or rug that is not properly fixed to the ground may have curled or frayed edges, causing a trip hazard to workers or visitors to the premises.
- Wet flooring – flooring can become wet and slippery for a variety of different reasons. Whether due to spillages, mopping floors or weather conditions, it is important that business take steps to minimise the risk of injury. For example, when there is heavy rain, the wet shoes of shoppers can quickly make the floor of shops and supermarkets wet and slippy. In these circumstances, it is important that action is taken to minimise the risk of accidents. This may include ensuring that sufficient floor mats are in the entrances for people to wipe their feet when entering the premises, placing warning signs and regularly cleaning the area.
- Poor lighting – the placement of lighting and lighting levels must be sufficient so as not to make areas dangerous. For example, if a stairwell does not have adequate lighting, it can create a risk of serious injury. If a person is unable to clearly see the steps, they could easily trip up or fall down the stairs and sustain life-changing injuries.
- Changes in slopes and levels – unexpected slopes and level changes can also cause people to stumble and fall over. Whether outside or within business premises, if there is a clear danger, this should either be rectified or highlighted to help prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.
There are many other hazards in shops, work environments, homes, hospitals and public areas that can result in people suffering injuries due to a trip, slip or fall. If you are the unfortunate victim of such an accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation. To find out if you have a valid claim, and to receive some free legal advice, contact an experienced and friendly accident claim solicitor today by calling free on 0800 678 1410.
Common injuries sustained by slips and trips
People that slip, trip over or fall often walk away relatively unscathed, with minor injuries such as small bruises and grazes. Unfortunately however, many people are not so lucky, and can sustain injuries that cause significant pain and disruption to their lives.
Wrist fractures are quite a common injury caused by slips and trips, as it is the hands which often take the brunt of the impact as people try to break their fall. When the body tenses up before an impact, it can often cause trauma and injuries to other joints such as elbows and shoulders.
Although most commonly associated with car accidents, whiplash is also a common injury sustained when a person trips or slips. The sudden jolting movement of the fall causes the tendons and ligaments in the neck to overstretch and become damaged.
Whatever type of injury you have suffered, you have every right to seek compensation if somebody else was at fault for your accident. If your claim is successful, the compensation you receive can go a some way to compensating you for the pain and disruption caused by your injuries.
What are the time limits for making a claim?
When you have been injured in an accident that was caused by somebody else’s negligence, you have three years from the date of the accident to pursue a claim for compensation. Once this time limit has elapsed, you would no longer be eligible to make an injury claim.
Although you have three years, it is always best to start legal proceedings as soon as possible after your accident. The more time that passes after your accident, the more complicated it may be to gather evidence to support your case.
There are instances where the time limit doesn’t start until a later date, which is called the date of knowledge. Although not typical with slip or trip accidents, this applies to circumstances where a person doesn’t become aware of their injuries until some time after the accident. When this occurs, the three year time limit begins on the date you are made aware of your injury or illness, or the fact that it was caused by your accident.
If at the time of the accident you are under 18 years of age, the three year limit for pursuing your right to compensation doesn’t start to count down until your 18th birthday. However, a parent or guardian can make the claim on your behalf before you turn 18. This is often the better option, as it means your solicitor can get started with your claim as soon as possible and start gathering the all important evidence to support your case.
How much compensation can I claim for a slip or trip accident?
Compensation for personal injury is based on the type and severity of injury you have sustained due to your slip or trip accident, and the financial impact that this has had on your life.
Guidelines for the minimum and maximum compensation awards for different injury types are produced by the Judicial College. Although not legally binding, these guidelines are used and adhered to by most solicitors, insurance companies and the Courts.
These guidelines, for what are called general damages, take into account the type and severity of injury, the day-to-day impact, how long it has or will take to recover and whether you will be left with any long lasting or permanent damage, such as pain or scars.
As mentioned above, a slip or trip compensation claim will also take into account the financial impact the accident has had on your life. This part is referred to as special damages, and can take into account the following:
- any loss of earnings if you have needed to take time off work due to your accident.
- any future loss of earnings if your injuries will affect your ability to carry on working in your previous role
- the cost of any prescriptions or medication you have had to pay for
- transport costs needed for hospital, doctors and other medical appointments
- the cost of any rehabilitation treatment, such as physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment
- any costs associated with you ongoing care requirements
An experienced injury lawyer will ensure that a full assessment is made of your injury and financial losses. They will always strive to make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Not only can this help to get you back on your feet as soon as possible, it can also help to ease the financial stress that can be caused when you are injured in an accident.
A slip, trip or fall accident has made an existing injury worse. Am I still entitled to compensation? Yes, if an injury or medical condition is made worse as a direct result of the accident you have had, you may still be eligible to claim compensation. But you can only hold the party at fault for your accident responsible for the amount of damage they have actually caused. This means a medical assessment will need to be made to determine the impact that the accident has had on your existing injury or illness.
What evidence will I need to support my claim?
To make a successful claim following a slip, trip or fall, your injury solicitor will need to gather evidence to support your case. This will be used to prove who was at fault for the accident, whether this was your employer, a supermarket, the local authority or a cafe.
The type of evidence you can provide will depend on the circumstances of your accident and where it took place, but could include the following:
- witness statements
- accident book records
- police reports
In addition to providing evidence of liability, you will also need to provide the third party with evidence of your injuries and any financial losses included within your claim. This could include:
- medical records
- hospital reports
- x-rays and scans
- prescription receipts
- wage slips to prove loss of earnings
When you instruct a solicitor to handle you claim, they will begin the process of gathering evidence asap. This will help to ensure that available evidence is collected and they can build the strongest possible case against the party responsible for your accident and injuries.
How long does the claims process take?
How long it will take to complete your claim and receive compensation is a difficult question to answer. This is because each case is different, and the time taken to conclude a case will depend on the particular circumstances.
For fairly straightforward claims where the third party has admitted responsibility and negotiations regarding compensation amounts are not drawn out, the process can be completed within a couple of months.
The key considerations that can complicate a case and increase the duration are:
- if liability for the accident is disputed
- if the third party claim you are partly responsible, which is known as contributory negligence
- if you have suffered injuries that require extensive medical assessments to determine the cause or future impact
- where the amount of compensation you are trying to claim is disputed by the third party
If an agreement cannot be reached by the solicitors involved, your case could be taken to court. Even if the claim is eventually settled before the actual court date, this process can add a significant amount of additional time to the proceedings.
Will my claim be made on a No Win No Fee basis?
Yes, your solicitor will be able to help with your slip or trip claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means there are no upfront fees to pay and there will never be any hidden costs. If your solicitor is unable to win your claim for compensation, you won’t pay a penny. So you have complete peace of mind knowing that making your claim won’t be putting you and your family under any financial risk.
Also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), the no win no fee agreement is a service contract that is entered into between you and your solicitor. This agreement sets out what happens should the case be won or lost, as well as detailing all of the terms and conditions of the provided service.
Solicitors understand that being faced with a legal document containing terms and conditions and legal jargon can feel slightly daunting. So they will always try to make the process as straightforward and transparent as possible, explaining all of the details in simple terms.
How can a solicitor help?
Experienced personal injury solicitors are on hand to provide you with the legal advice and support you need following a slip or trip accident. Even if you are unsure whether you are entitled to make a claim, an expert solicitor can assess the circumstances of your accident to determine your chances of making a successful compensation claim.
The claims process starts with a free consultation. This is an opportunity for your solicitors to gather some information about your accident, your injury and the person or company you feel was at fault for your slip or trip. This information is used to help determine if you are eligible to make a claim and how successful it is likely to be.
If you do have a valid case, your solicitors will be able to offer you a no win no fee service. This enables you to start your injury claim without having to worry about paying any upfront fees or the uncertainty of spiralling costs. Your solicitors only receive a fee if they are successful in winning your case.