With Storm Eunice coming hot on the heels of Storm Dudley, and the Met Office having issued red and amber weather warnings, what are the things we need to consider to avoid injury in stormy weather conditions, and what can be done if we are injured as an end result of bad or extreme weather?
While extreme weather is usually classed as an ‘act of god’ there are some circumstances in which a resulting injury could be the fault of someone else and have been avoidable.
Of course, bad or extreme weather itself cannot be blamed for an accident. More often than not, it’s not the weather that causes accidents but the failure to respond to and prepare for it correctly. Local authorities, employers, councils, property and business owners have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of third parties.
Some examples of when poor weather can cause or lead to injury include:
- Working at height in high winds
- Heavy rain/flooding affecting driving
- Being hit by flying debris in windy weather
- High waves and flooding in coastal areas.
However, it is often possible to mitigate against accidents if, as is usually the case, we have prior warning. If a person, employer or organisation doesn’t take reasonable steps to ensure they have tried to avoid accidents happening, a claim for personal injury and other losses may be possible. Reasonable steps would include carrying out risk assessments, providing appropriate PPE, putting up warning signs, e.g. wet floor signs, and postponing particular tasks until the bad weather has passed.
As individuals, we can also take responsibility to avoid injury. Where possible, it is advisable to avoid venturing out during bad weather. If you cannot avoid going out you should think about what you can do to minimise the risk of having an accident.
Some measures you can take include:
- If you are out walking, wear sensible footwear with plenty of grip, especially with heavy rains
- Allow plenty of time for your journey. If you are rushing, either on foot, on a bike or in a vehicle, you are more likely to be unsteady or to make mistakes
- Be aware that floors and doorways inside buildings can also become hazardous, especially when excess water is brought in as people enter the building.
In summary, you need to be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers and do everything possible to avoid them. But if you are injured as a result of bad weather you may have a claim where a third party has a responsibility to mitigate against bad weather risks. If you think you have a claim, contact our personal injury specialists for advice on 0161 696 6235.
By Angeline Holmes, paralegal in the personal injury team