How To Prove Liability In A Slip And Fall Case

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 26th June 2023. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident because another relevant party breached their duty of care, you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim. Within this guide, we discuss the duty of care you are owed in various instances and how a breach of this duty could cause you to become injured.

We will also provide advice on how to prove another party is liable for your accident and the time limit in which you have to start proceedings if you have a valid claim.

This guide will also share examples of the types of compensation you could be awarded and how these are calculated. We will also provide guidance on working with a slip and fall accident lawyer from our panel on a No Win No Fee basis.

To discuss your potential personal injury claim, you can contact our advisors. They can offer you free advice and answer your questions about starting a claim.

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How To Prove Liability In A Slip And Fall Case

Slip and fall claims guide

Select A Section

  1. What Are Slip And Fall Cases?
  2. What Is Proof Of An Accident Or Injury?
  3. Proving A Slip And Fall Case Caused Your Injury
  4. Duty Of Care – Proving Liability In A Slip And Fall Case
  5. Slip And Fall Case Compensation Calculator
  6. Special Damages In Slip And Fall Cases
  7. No Win No Fee Slip And Fall Cases
  8. Related Guides

What Are Slip And Fall Cases?

Firstly, let’s examine exactly what a slip and fall case is. Anything that creates an obstacle or a hazard can cause such accidents. The simplest things have the potential to cause real harm, such as:

  • Spillages of water or oily liquids
  • Messy cables or electricity wires
  • Uneven floor surfaces
  • Sudden changes in floor height
  • Uneven stairs or varying tread heights
  • Ice and wet weather conditions

Any of these circumstances could result in a slip, trip or fall. Poor lighting, lack of appropriate signage and structural disrepair could mean that you end up with anything from a slightly sprained ankle to serious head injuries. Your slip or fall injury can happen in moments but the repercussions could be with you for years.

What could happen when I slip on a wet floor?

You could, for example:

  • Try to break your fall and fracture your wrist, arm, elbow or shoulder.
  • Land badly and trap your hand. A hand injury can render you helpless for weeks.
  • Suffer a finger injury or thumb injury. (These can be incredibly painful and debilitating.)
  • Have a neck injury or head injury if you collide with something as you fall down.
  • Break an ankle or shatter a knee if you go down hard on a polished floor.

Unattended spillages can cause you to fall and land in many ways. You could damage your face or teeth or land backwards and suffer a concussion. With no way of predicting how you might fall, any of these injuries could be the consequence. Here you can find a case study where exactly this sort of spillage slip and fall accident happened and the rotator cuff injury that was the result of it.

Modern environments may use polished marble floors or imitations, which look beautiful but can be lethal when combined with spillage. How many supermarkets have you seen spillages in? What about the venue in need of an upgrade that has a loose stair carpet? Often, by the time you’ve noticed the hazard, it’s too late to prevent injury.

Slip And Fall Claims – How Long Do I Have?

Generally, a personal injury claim must be started within three years of the date of the accident. In certain circumstances, such as when symptoms manifest at a later date, the three-year limit can start at what is called the date of knowledge. For example, if you had experienced a slip and fall, you might not be aware you had fractured your coccyx until a month later. Your time limit could start from this date.

This is according to the Limitation Act 1980. However, there can be exceptions made for this time limit.

People who were under 18 at the time of their slip and fall accident are not subject to this time limit until they turn 18. Prior to this date, the time limit is frozen. A claim can be made during this period, but a litigation friend would have to represent them.

The situation is similar for claimants with limited mental capacity. The time limit can be frozen, and they can either start the claim when or if they regain the mental ability to do so, or they can be represented by a litigation friend during the suspended period.

For more information on claiming for slip and falls, or how the process of slip and fall claims, get in touch with our advisors today.

What Is Proof Of An Accident Or Injury?

An aspect of making a personal injury claim that can put people off is proving it. Added to this, it’s almost second nature to assume that we were at fault in some way and were simply clumsy. 

There are instances when the accident was clearly not your fault and there are practical steps you can take to prove liability in a slip and fall case. Let’s assume you tripped on some exposed cables in an internet cafe for example. You could:

  • Photograph the exposed cables.
  • Obtain witness contact details from anyone willing to give them
  • Request CCTV footage from the property owner. For example, if you fell in a public garden, CCTV could show what happened and a potential cause. 
  • Use medical evidence from the treatment required—emergency services or GP’s notes, for example.
  • Have an independent medical assessment.

When you’re thinking about how to prove liability in a slip and fall case, try to separate events clearly in your mind. When you speak to our personal injury team, they can help explain who may have been actually responsible and why. Clumsiness may not be to blame in your case.

Proving A Slip And Fall Case Caused Your Injury

Once you have been able to establish that a slip or trip in some way harmed you, and you have the relevant evidence to substantiate this claim, what next? It’s now important to prove liability in a slip and fall case by being able to demonstrate the other party was at fault. If your accident happened in a public place, you may be able to:

  • Establish that staff knew there was a hazard and failed to take remedial action.
  • Establish if the staff themselves were the problem and caused the hazard.
  • Uncover proof that previous warnings about the hazard had been ignored.
  • Prove that the hazard hadn’t been dealt with as quickly as possible or within a reasonable timescale.

Clarifying these issues for you is what we do best at Advice.co.uk. Our advisors are experts at explaining the law simply and can offer free legal advice to guide your compensation claim properly.

Duty Of Care – Proving Liability In A Slip And Fall Case

Duty of care is the applied responsibility of employers and those in charge of public spaces to protect our safety. It’s crucial to avoiding accidents and injury and in everyone’s best interests to uphold it.

Workplace Duty of Care 

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 gives clear instruction to those running places of employment to provide the following as much as is reasonably possible:

  • Uphold practices that protect the safety and wellbeing of all employees.
  • Extend this duty of care to any visitors, contractors or members of the public on their premises.
  • Meet regularly with safety representatives to pre-empt possible hazardous situations.
  • Act upon the findings of written risk assessments.
  • Supply proper training and supervision where appropriate.
  • Accept liability if the injury was caused by circumstances that the management was aware of yet failed to remedy.

Duty of care is an essential component of running a safe business. The proper storage and handling of materials, as well as correct instruction on their use, are all designed to avoid slips, trips and falls as well as other forms of harm.

When you are harmed in the workplace and you make a personal injury claim against your employer, if you are successful, their insurance should pay your compensation. Most UK employers are obliged to carry liability insurance and you may have a legal right to seek compensation. Although you may feel reluctant to sue your boss, you may be surprised at how willing they are to see you compensated if you were harmed because of their negligence.

Duty of Care In Public Places

The law seeks to protect us from an injury that was not our fault in public, too. Almost every area where normal daily life takes place is covered by the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. Similar to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, this piece of legislation requires those in charge of a public area to do everything they can to prevent hazards and harm to visitors. By it being accessible to the public, those in charge of a public area are demonstrating their willingness to assume these responsibilities. Specifically, they are to:

  • Create as safe an environment as reasonably possible.
  • Prevent accident and injury by foreseeing potential risk.
  • Provide clear signs about unavoidable risks such as slopes, stairs, low ceilings etc.
  • If relevant, clearly demonstrate their unwillingness to assume these responsibilities with ‘keep out’ or ‘private property’ signs.
  • Take responsibility for the safety and suitability of all fittings and fixtures that are being used correctly and lawfully.
  • Not unsafely conduct hazardous activities on the premises that could harm you.
  • Provide extra allowances for children who are less able to gauge personal safety.

There are limitations to what we can expect those in control of public spaces to be liable for. We are expected, as adults, to safeguard our own safety as much as possible. When you invite someone into your home to use your stairs you don’t imagine they will slide down the bannisters and this common-sense approach to our conduct in public is important when it comes to distinguishing between avoidable and unavoidable injuries.

However, in some instances, a clear failure on the part of the people in charge can cause your injury. In this case, you could be owed compensation.

Slip And Fall Case Compensation Calculator

There are two heads of potential compensation:

  • General damages
  • Special damages

General damages compensate you for your physical and mental injuries. Solicitors may value general damages using a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines. This document is a full head-to-toe guide to how much an injury could be worth. It’s based on previous cases and aims to provide clarity and fairness to people who have been impacted by injury. General damages compensate for:

  • The pain and suffering inflicted upon the victim.
  • Any mental health issues the injury or accident has sparked, such as depression or anxiety.
  • The way it may have affected personal relationships.
  • The impact on the quality of the victim’s life.
  • Long-term health problems.

Below is a table that gives a brief synopsis of possible award amounts. It’s important to note that they are merely suggestions designed to give your personal injury lawyer something to argue for on your behalf. They are not guaranteed.

Edit
Injury type Severity Info How much?
Neck Severe (i) Permanent, serious disability. In the region of
£148,330
Feet Very severe Permanent and serious pain or severe disability. £83,960 to £109,650
Wrist (a) Total loss of function in the wrist. £47,620 to £59,860

Back Moderate Cases where there is some reduced mobility. £27,760 to £38,780

Ankles Moderate Fractures or ligament tears and other injuries which cause some immobility. £13,740 to £26,590
Toes Severe Severe crush injuries, leading to amputation of one or two toes (except the great toe) or close to amputation. £13,740 to £21,070
Arms Simple fractures of the forearm £6,610 to £19,200
Hands Fracture of index finger Where the fracture is healed but there are long-term consequences. £9,110 to £12,240
Legs Less serious (iii) Simple fractures or soft tissue injury. Up to
£11,840
Thumbs Severe Dislocation of the Thumb £6,340 to £7,780

Using this table and cross-referencing it with the results of an independent medical assessment, it’s possible to arrive at an amount that can form the first part of your personal injury claims calculations.

Special Damages In Slip And Fall Cases

Moving on to the second head of your compensation, you can look at the evidence you have which shows how the injuries have impacted you financially. Serious injury can be expensive and even a minor problem can throw up unwanted and unexpected costs that you are required to bear immediately in order to get well.

This can create major problems for people and seeking compensation is an attempt to correct this problem. Some typical issues that can present themselves are:

  • You may lose wages from being unable to work.
  • Care costs may arise from needing someone to help with basic tasks.
  • Could you lose out on your attendance bonus at work?
  • Holiday plans could be cancelled and deposits lost.
  • Childcare arrangements could become more complex and costly if you can’t care for your children.
  • Travel might become an issue—you may need to claim travel costs if they’re a consequence of your injuries (e.g. getting to and from appointments).
  • At the hospital, you might need to pay for additional therapies or remedial services like physiotherapy or counselling.
  • Have you been scarred? You might need to pay for cosmetic surgery.
  • Pet care—who walks the dog if you can’t walk?

There could be others. Contact us at Advice.co.uk and our advisors can assess your situation and offer free legal advice on other things you may be able to include in your claim. As long as you can provide proof of these out-of-pocket expenses in the form of bills and receipts, they can be included as part of your claim for damages.

No Win No Fee Slip And Fall Cases

If you’re feeling daunted at the prospect of proving liability in a slip and fall case, a No Win No Fee lawyer can help. The service is tailor-made for people looking for a financially risk-free way of funding a solicitor.

There are no upfront costs to hire a solicitor in this way, and none as the case moves forward. This freedom means that you are not burdened further by your legal costs. Not only can you concentrate on recovering, but you can relax in the knowledge that you may have a good chance of winning back all the expenses your injury has caused.

Your personal injury lawyer shouldn’t waste your time. If our panel of personal injury lawyers think the case doesn’t stand a favourable chance of winning, they will tell you and won’t take it on. If they take the case up, you can rest assured that it means they’re confident of a successful outcome. After all, they get a small percentage of the compensation as their fee. It’s capped by law to keep it low and as fair as possible to you, but it still means the solicitor has a vested interest in winning the case at the highest possible payout amount.

No Win No Fee can essentially mean free legal advice right up until the settlement of your case. If your case does not win, you won’t have to pay the solicitor’s fee. If you’re struggling with how to prove liability in a slip and fall case or collect evidence to support your claim, speak to our team today and let us help.

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Related Guides

At Advice.co.uk we have extensive experience handling accidents in the workplace claims which you can read more about.

For guidance about collecting evidence and correctly attributing fault for an injury at work, please read.

Click on this guide if you would like to find out more about the accident at work claims process.

With this article you will be able to learn when and how you’re able to claim after falling in the street,

We also handle car accident claims, which you can read about in more detail.

This guide contains a case study about a £17,000 compensation payout for the loss of teeth and advice on how to make a similar claim.

This guide goes in detail regarding suing your employer if you fall at work and how to gather supporting evidence.

The NHS has advice if you’ve recently suffered a fall

The Government produces statistics about slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

In addition to this, you can read more information on avoiding wet floor or spillage accidents.

Thank you for reading our guide on how to prove liability in a slip and fall case. We hope it has helped in your decision to start a claim for compensation from a liable party.