The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has praised Somerset County Council after it used the local newspaper to instruct residents on how to clear snow safely.
There have been growing concerns that the threat of litigation from someone who slips or falls on an icy pathway was discouraging people from being ‘Good Samaritans’ and clearing away snow.
However, APIL has applauded the way that Somerset County Council has sought to clarify matters, making it clear to people that they can only be on the receiving end of a claim if they are negligent. The local authority published a ‘snow code’ in the Wells Journal in an effort to reassure people.
Deborah Evans, chief executive of APIL, said: “The priority should be to make our communities safer, not to avoid litigation.”
The importance of clearing snow safely
APIL backed up Somerset County Council’s advice by outlining the difference between safe and negligent ways of clearing snow.
For example, if a shovel and sand or salt is used, the person who did the work will be unlikely to face a claim if someone still falls over.
On the other hand, if they attempted an ill-advised short cut by melting the snow with water, they could easily be sued as this will in all probability cause a very hazardous layer of ice to form.
This advice is useful for residents, but will also be of interest to businesses who may feel a responsibility for clearing the areas surrounding their premises.
Of course, if you have slipped on a pathway during the wintry weather, this advice will also help you decide whether it is worth pursuing a compensation claim. If you are at all unsure, you can call Croftons Solicitors free on 0800 2800 094 for help and guidance on the steps you should take.