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7 January 2010 / personal-injury-news
Despite good intentions, trying to clear snow and ice may create an even worse hazard. What's more, the act of clearing snow could even lead to a compensation claim
So should Brits struggling with up to 16 inches of snow this week wait for councils to clear the roads instead of attempting to clear areas around their residences or businesses themselves?
National Accident Helpline’s legal director, John Campbell, said today: 'Sometimes the law seems to be a bit of an ass. Obviously, snow and ice can be extremely hazardous and inconvenient, and many people are keen to regain clear access to their homes and businesses. And nobody wants to feel responsible for seeing someone injured because the snow and ice has not been cleared from a path.
However, we would urge people struggling with this week’s snow to act sensibly and be careful if attempting to clear paths themselves." Campbell explained that with the current budget constraints upon them, many councils have simply not been gritting and salting footpaths at all this year. "These paths can soon become very icy and dangerous when the snow is trodden down and the temperature falls below zero," he said.
"Anyone treating snow and ice is at risk of injuring themselves, as well as creating a greater hazard to others. If their efforts have made the path more dangerous and someone is injured, it is possible this could give rise to a compensation claim.
But it is unfortunate if people feel they must hold back from giving help and assistance by clearing snow outside their homes or businesses just because of the very unlikely risk of a claim against them. Every year, many elderly people suffer nasty injuries as a result of slipping over on the ice, and it would be good if much more effort could be made to keep footpaths clear and safe."
No win no fee claims company National Accident Helpline issued the statement following a council leader’s claim that people angry at icy roads lack the 'spirit that beat Hitler', and should clear the snow themselves. Keith Mitchell, of Oxfordshire County Council, was reported in the Telegraph this week as saying: "If every householder and every shopkeeper took some salt and a shovel and cleared the area of pavement in front of their home or shop, we might have regained some of the spirit that has kept this island free for a 1,000 years."
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