Can I make a claim for a slip, trip or fall in a public place?

shopping mall

During the colder months, slips and trips are common but they can happen at any time. Inclement weather can make many everyday places treacherous – particularly if the owner or occupier of the property has not taken adequate care to protect patrons’ safety. If you have suffered an injury in a public place, you may be able to make a compensation claim. In this article, I will look at these types of accidents and answer some of the important questions you may have.

Accidents in a public place

If you have suffered an accident or injury in a public place, you may be able to bring a claim against the party responsible. However, you will firstly need to determine who that party is. When we discuss accidents in a public place, we typically are referring to the following:

  • Shopping centres and retail parks
  • Bus or train stations
  • Your place of work
  • Public car parks or multi-storey car parks
  • In a supermarket or supermarket car park
  • Hospital grounds
  • Public paths and walkways

The party responsible for maintaining the public area referred to as ‘the occupier’ is most often the party you will bring your claim against. If you are unsure, your solicitor can help you determine who is responsible.

Do I have a claim?

In order to bring a successful claim, you must have suffered an injury within the last three years that was at least partially the fault of another party. Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, occupiers of premises have a ‘common duty of care’ towards visitors to the premises. As a result, occupiers must ensure that visitors are kept ‘reasonably safe in using the premises’. Part of this duty means keeping the premises safe during inclement weather conditions. If an occupier fails in this duty and does not adequately address hazards, you could bring a claim if you are injured as a result.

The difficulty in these cases is that occupiers must only take ‘reasonable’ steps to protect visitors. For example, in the case of supermarkets in winter, staff members can be expected to ensure that snow or ice does not pose a hazard to visitors in the entranceway or trolley areas and use appropriate signage to warn visitors of slipping hazards. However, it might be unreasonable and even impossible for occupiers to ensure the entire car park and surrounding areas are free of ice and snow.

When you contact a solicitor, they will ask you questions about your accident and will be able to advise you fully as to whether you have a good claim.

To discuss this or any other personal injury related matter, contact Mark Wisby on 01483 887766, email or start a live chat today.

* This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Mark Wisby

Senior Associate, Clinical Negligence

Mark is a Senior Associate specialising in clinical negligence and serious injury claims. Mark’s role is to investigate allegations of negligence including at inquests to...

Mark Wisby- Clinical Negligence

Senior Associate, Clinical Negligence

Mark Wisby

Mark is a Senior Associate specialising in clinical negligence and serious injury claims.

Mark’s role is to investigate allegations of negligence including at inquests to try and get his clients any additional help they may need and to recover for them the compensation they deserve. He guides his clients carefully through the litigation and alternative dispute resolution process always setting out clearly what the options are and which is the best one.

He has over 30 years’ experience of working for both claimants and defendants including working on secondment for a number of insurers dealing with employers’ liability, public liability, product liability and road traffic accident claims. He has over that time recovered substantial damages for his many clients including over £3 million for one of them.

Mark is a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and qualified at the Inns of Court Temple as a solicitor in 2004.

Mark really listens to what his clients want to achieve and will always tries to ‘go the extra mile’ to secure a successful outcome.

What do Mark's clients say?

"...thank you so very much for handling my case and getting me an unexpected outcome even with its complexity! The settlement has afforded me to cut my hours and afford to take early retirement..."

"A huge thank you for all of your guidance and support. Throughout you have been patient, explaining everything, never offering false hope, always approachable. We can now move forward..."

"I just wanted to say a massive thank you to you for all the hard work you have done for me... I really appreciate it and wasn't expecting anywhere near the final figure, all due thanks to you!"

"Thank you for all your efforts in sorting out my personal injury claim... I also thank you for your clear and concise explanation of legal speak which is hard to understand. All of my meetings with you were productive and interesting and you kept me well informed throughout."