The myth that clearing snow or ice from paths and driveways could lead to homeowners being sued if someone slips and falls has been debunked by a leading personal injury lawyer.
As weather warnings are issued for parts of the UK, homeowners might be afraid to clear paths and driveways of snow or ice for fear someone could fall and be injured.
“Every single winter the age-old myth resurfaces that Good Samaritans will end up the victims of legal action if they are being helpful by clearing snow and ice. It’s simply absurd,” said Jonathan Scarsbrook, president of not-for-profit organisation the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), which campaigns on behalf of injured people.
“There is a distinct difference between a simple accident which no-one could reasonably foresee and that no-one is at fault for - and negligence when it comes to making a legal claim. Negligence is when someone does something which they could reasonably predict would cause a person to be injured,” he explained.
“Anyone clearing snow or ice would have to be demonstrably negligent to be liable for someone else’s injury. For example, if you use hot water to melt snow on a path, it is going to refreeze and create a dangerous sheet of ice in the current temperatures. This could cause someone serious harm. But using a shovel, and putting down salt or sand on paths and drives will do the job safely.
“Good Samaritans should not be put off being helpful and caring towards others, especially when it comes to clearing snow and ice for their elderly and vulnerable family and neighbours. Just use your common sense and no-one will get hurt,” he said.