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Lichfield legal expert speaks out on snow and ice accidents

A Lichfield legal expert has moved to clear up suggestions that clearing snow and ice would leave people at risk of prosecution.

Adam Penn

Adam Penn, from Ansons LLP, spoke out as the country struggled under a blanket of snow and ice.

And with the cold weather came stories that that good neighbours who clear the path outside their homes risk being prosecuted should someone fall over and hurt themselves.

Mr Penn Penn, a senior member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said:

“It would be disappointing if the act of clearing snow for the benefit of the community could result in litigation. No court would award compensation based on someone injuring themselves in area that had been cleared of snow and ice, simply because the area had been attended to.

“The only circumstance in which a claim may be pursued is if a new hazard was created that had not existed before.  For example using boiling water to clear an area which later freezes to make an ice rink, could result in a person being liable.”

Should a person injure themselves as a result of a slip then who is responsible will depend on who owns the land.

Where private land is concerned, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the area. When a property owner fails to do so and someone is injured, the property owner may be held accountable for the injury.

Local authorities have a legal requirement to take reasonable steps to keep major roads free of snow and ice.

Each county council publishes which roads it has agreed to try to keep open.  Should someone have an accident or injure themselves on one of these roads then in theory there is a case.  However the onus is still on the motorist to drive in a manner that suits the conditions and the court will take this into account.

For people who have suffered an injury as a result of a slip or fall or motor vehicle accident, Mr Penn said:

“I would recommend seeking advice from a qualified personal injury solicitor who is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers to ensure you receive impartial and quality advice.

“There are a number of options available with regards to funding a claim and these are dependent upon the claimant’s personal circumstances and the type of claim being pursued. Most reputable personal injury solicitors are able to pursue a claim at no cost to the client, win or lose, however a solicitor will be able to advise on the best way to fund a claim.”

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