Whether property owners can be held responsible for falls on snow and ice — and to what extent — will vary depending upon the situation. Ice and snow are temporary hazards, which in certain circumstances a property owner should clear within a reasonable amount of time. Failure to do so could leave them liable for slip-and-fall injuries.
If you slipped and fell on naturally occurring snow and ice in the parking lot of a store, and the property owner did nothing to make the parking lot more dangerous, you may be limited in your ability to recover compensation.
But, if there was ice and snow on a sidewalk directly in front of a store, the property owner or manager may be responsible for clearing the hazard within a reasonable amount of time – such as by shoveling snow and/or salting or spreading sand on ice. In some communities, local ordinances specifically require property owners to clear ice and snow in a certain amount of time after a snowfall or ice storm.
In cases of snow or ice tracked inside an office building or store that then melt and make the floor slippery, the property owner is likely to be liable for injuries due to falls. The property manager should be aware of the fact of the hazard – the snowfall – and should work to deal with it, such as by monitoring and mopping the floor or putting a mat down, and/or posting “wet floor” hazard signs. Doing nothing could easily be seen as negligence.
If a property owner or a property owner’s representative knew about an ice-and-snow hazard and failed to take reasonable steps to remove it or warn visitors about it, someone who slips and falls could have a legal claim. A Becker Law Office attorney would be happy to discuss the circumstances of such a case with you.