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'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

03 Dec 2017, 08:38

Put into Royal Mail side of News as it affects us as well as couriers.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/the-postm ... n-11622387

Snow is in the air - which means slippery roads and hazards just about everywhere. Here's what happened one courier slipped, then tried to claim back his loss of earnings from the homeowner

When it snows, do you clear your drive and the path to your door? Do you spread grit when it’s icy?

Most don’t – but here’s why you may want to start.


A reader called Robert told me about a legal claim being pursued against him for this very reason.

On an icy day last January, a courier delivered an Amazon ­parcel to Robert’s front door.

As the courier turned and ­started walking away from Robert’s door he slipped and fell.

Initially Robert thought the man had not injured himself. But three weeks later he had a letter from the courier company.

It said their employee had ­broken his shoulder and they would be pursuing a claim against Robert for his time off work.

Robert did not respond and heard no further. Last week Robert received a letter at his home in London from solicitors who say they are representing the courier, not the company he works for.

The letter demands ­compensation for the man’s injuries – and gives Robert 28 days to pay or pass the letter to his ­insurers, failing which they will issue legal proceedings.

In a panic, Robert contacted me to ask if he’s liable for the injury.

Is Robert liable?

There is a law called the Occupiers Liability Act 1984. Under this, householders have a duty ­towards visitors to their homes.

This means householders should make sure it is safe for visitors to travel across any of their land they make publicly accessible, such as footpaths and driveways.

In this respect, if it is foreseeable that any form of obstacle on your land is likely to cause injury you are almost certainly liable if it does.

An icy or snow-covered path or driveway is an obvious hazard ­likely to cause someone to fall.

House insurance

Many people think that home ­insurance covers only damage to your property and theft.


The good news is that it often covers far more. It is likely that Robert will have cover for the ­injury sustained by the courier.

However, a word of warning – insurance companies are renowned for wriggling out of payments.

In these circumstances, they could argue that Robert is not covered because he was negligent in failing to grit the path.


'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

03 Dec 2017, 13:52

Yet again this is about “a COURIER delivered an Amazon ¬parcel” yet the headline is “The POSTMAN slipped on snow in my garden". :arrrghhh

'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

03 Dec 2017, 19:41

The general rule regarding snow & ice is that if you attempt to clear it or spread some salt to melt it and someone trips/falls on it then the property owner is responsible. If the property owner doesn't clear the snow/ice and someone falls on it the person falling is responsible. It may sound nonsense but this is the case. If there is rough ground or a hole or something non-weather related then the property owner is responsible.

'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

03 Dec 2017, 20:31

Celgar wrote:The general rule regarding snow & ice is that if you attempt to clear it or spread some salt to melt it and someone trips/falls on it then the property owner is responsible. If the property owner doesn't clear the snow/ice and someone falls on it the person falling is responsible. It may sound nonsense but this is the case.


The reason this is the case is that negligence is based on the fundamental premise that you were aware of the risk/danger and have made no or insufficient attempt to resolve it. If you don't touch it you have plausible deniability that you were even aware of the problem.

Years ago my postman broke his ankle on my neighbours icy path but as the path had frozen overnight and the postman had been the first person on the path that morning there was no negligence involved since the owner was unaware that the path was icy.

'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

06 Dec 2017, 16:31

i'd say the fault is with the courier for trying to deliver where there is snow and ice.

'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

06 Dec 2017, 16:50

loverman shabba wrote:i'd say the fault is with the courier for trying to deliver where there is snow and ice.


It would be an easy day if we didn't go anywhere there was snow and ice especially north of the M25, you have to individually risk assess every situation but some dangers like black ice or ice under a layer of snow are difficult to see.

'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

06 Dec 2017, 18:14

A bit off topic, but a bit relevant I think. I remember a few years back the shops in our local small rural town were instructed by town leaders not to clear the snow in front of their shops when it snowed. This made it much more hazardous for pedestrians but it meant that the shopkeepers were not liable to prosecution if someone fell over, but the council would be.

Mad world. It used to be safe for elderly people to shop in the town in the snow but now it's a hazard... but at least they can sue the council if they fall over and hurt themselves!

Back to this topic. (IN MY OPINION) The guy should have had the adequate training to do an on-site risk assessment of this delivery point. Either he made an error in his assessment so he is responsible, or his employer did not train him sufficiently to make the correct decision, so they are responsible. Did they provide spikeys, for instance? They should be standard issue for workers in the snow.

'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

12 Dec 2017, 21:32

'The guy should have had the adequate training to do an on-site risk assessment of this delivery point.'
starting with..
1) is the delivery point on fire?
2) is the delivery point covered in molten lava?
3) is the delivery point guarded by snakes? can you be sure they are not venomous?

'The postman slipped on snow in my garden - and now he's suing me' - am I really in the wrong?

13 Dec 2017, 19:26

Err... no. That's silly.

Is it dangerous for me to deliver here? Yes or no. Not danger of poisonous death, obviously. Just any obvious danger to yourself.

That's the risk assessment required. I imagine most of us doing this job do that thinking process many times a day without having to consider lava.

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