Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common types of accident and can occur almost anywhere from service stations, corner shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and other places open to the public, to hotels, restaurants and pubs, schools and hospitals, roads and footpaths, private property, and the workplace. A slip and fall can cause very serious and debilitating injuries and financial loss.
Although commonplace, slip, trip and fall accidents are far from straightforward. There is often a dispute over liability and in particular whether the proposed defendant had exercised reasonable care in looking to reduce the risk of accident. It may be necessary to engage the services of an engineer at an early stage to examine the accident scene and ascertain whether the accident could have been avoided, and if so, which party is likely to blame and to what degree. As a consequence, it is always best to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible particularly as it may be necessary to look to preserve the accident scene for examination or perhaps CCTV footage and other evidence.
What to Do
If you have had an accident in a place open to the public, the workplace or on private property there are certain steps that should be taken:
- Report the accident to the property owner, manager of premises or other relevant person and ensure that the date, time and circumstances of the accident are recorded.
- If you have been injured seek assistance and if necessary ask for the emergency services to be called to the scene.
- For less serious injury, attend your G.P. or the local hospital for a medical assessment.
- Take details of any witnesses, note the prevailing conditions and take photos of the accident locus if at all possible.
- As soon as practicable, seek legal advice to protect your interests.
Public Liability Insurance
In the majority of cases, occupiers of property take out public liability insurance which covers accident and injury claims. As a consequence, in most cases, the property owner or occupier’s insurer will deal with any personal injuries claim arising from an accident. It is not necessarily the owner or occupier that is solely responsible however. Slip, trip and fall accidents are often caused by a danger created by a third party, such as a sub-contractor or other party carrying out works on premises for instance. In such circumstances it may be necessary to name both the occupier of the premises and the third party as defendants in any subsequent proceedings with the prospect of more than one insurer having an interest. It is always best in these cases to seek expert legal advice.
If you have been injured as a result of a slip, trip or fall you may be entitled to compensation. If you wish to discuss a potential claim or would like advice on any matter, please contact us for a consultation.