Falls are a leading cause of injury in the U.S. and accounted for approximately 8.9 million emergency room visits in a recent year, according to the National Safety Council. During the winter, slip and fall injuries are even more common due to the presence of snow and ice in parking lots and on sidewalks, stairs and floors, making surfaces slippery and increasing the risk of falling.
Winter slip and fall accidents occur at home and on the premises of stores and public buildings. During the winter, falls are likely to occur on slippery sidewalks or ice-covered parking lots, or on slippery floors in public buildings where ice and snow have been tracked in and accumulated on the floor, endangering visitors. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident caused by snow or ice on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability claim.
Who is At Fault in Winter Slip and Fall Accidents?
Property owners, and renters who are responsible for the maintenance of the property have a duty to maintain safe premises, free of hazards that can cause injuries. Many slip and fall accidents could have been prevented with proper maintenance and reasonable care. If a hazard cannot be corrected, the property owner or renter has a responsibility to give adequate warning so that visitors can avoid injury.
Liability for slip and fall accidents on ice or snow depends on the circumstances involved. The property owner may not be at fault if you slipped and fell on snow and ice in the parking lot of a grocery store. Property owners are generally not legally required to remove ice and snow that is naturally deposited outside their buildings by weather conditions.
However, if an unnatural accumulation of ice and snow was caused by the condition of the property – for example, if the slope of the parking lot caused melting snow to puddle and freeze into icy patches –the owner may be liable for resulting injuries.
It is an entirely different situation with a slip and fall accident inside a store on a floor made slippery by tracked-in snow and ice. The floor is part of the premises, and the property owner has failed to correct the problem or post a warning to alert visitors to prevent a fall.
Slip-and-fall accidents on icy sidewalks can be complicated as to liability. Different municipalities have different regulations concerning the maintenance of sidewalks. Many require owners and occupants of buildings to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks adjoining their property within a specified amount of time after snowfall. Sidewalks not adjoining private or commercial property are generally the responsibility of a city, state, or federal government entity.
Get Legal Advice after a Slip and Fall on Snow and Ice
Slip and fall cases can be complicated, particularly those caused by snow and ice outdoors. Your best course of action if you have suffered such an injury is to consult with a seasoned premises liability lawyer.
At Becker Law Office, you will find a knowledgeable and experienced legal team, dedicated to pursuing the compensation you are entitled to receive. We represent clients in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana. We will evaluate your potential claim free of charge, and when you work with our firm, you will owe us no legal fees unless we settle the case for you or win at trial.