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Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Good citizens urged to step up in snowy weather

11 Jan 2017
APIL news

People should help their fellow citizens this winter without fear of being sued, say lawyers as the Met Office issues severe weather warnings for snow and ice across parts of Britain this week.

“There is a myth that if you clear a path or driveway of snow and someone then falls and is injured, that you could be sued for compensation, when you were only trying to help,” said Neil Sugarman, president of not-for-profit group for injured people the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

“In reality, you would have to do something negligent and make a situation dangerous for the chance of you being sued to even become a possibility. An example would be pouring warm water on a path to melt the snow which then refreezes to create a sheet of ice. If someone was injured, they would have to find the proof that you have been negligent. In any event, it’s certainly foolish and could cause unnecessary harm to someone,” he explained. “You need care and common sense.

“It is a real shame that community spirit or acts of kindness could be hampered by what seems to be a baseless rumour which has got out of hand.” 

“The myth about clearing snow is the tip of the iceberg. There are many assumptions and misunderstandings about injury compensation which we’d like to dispel, such as that off-duty doctors shouldn’t give medical care in case anything goes wrong and they are sued. The truth is that most doctors are fully aware of the law and understand that only proven negligence can result in a successful personal injury claim.

“Grab a shovel and help each other this winter, but don’t forget your common sense,” he said. 


Notes to editors:

  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
  • For more information contact APIL's press and communications officers Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, m: 07808 768623, e:, or Lizzy Freeman t: 0115 943 5431, e:  
  • Visit the association's website at
  • • Follow @APIL on Twitter:

Past press releases

Court closure threat to local justice system , 21 Mar 2018
Government washes its hands of injured people, 20 Mar 2018
Cold calling ban: time for Government to deliver, 08 Mar 2018
MPs told: Now is the time to ban cold calling, 22 Jan 2018
Get to grips with clearing snow and ice, say lawyers, 21 Dec 2017
Injured people must retain access to the courts , 15 Dec 2017
Kent roads have highest number of collisions, figures reveal, 13 Dec 2017
Highest rate of work injuries in North Warwickshire, 08 Nov 2017

More past press releases

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Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400

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Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416

Press & Communications Officer
Lizzy Freeman
0115 943 5431