During the months when snow and ice are more common, slip-and-fall accidents can become more common as well. It may not seem like a falling injury is something most people should worry about, but they are. The CDC states that they’re the leading cause of death among older adults and as many as 800,000 people per year – of all ages – are hospitalized because of a fall.
In a lot of cases, it can be pretty clear who’s responsible for a slip-and-fall accident. If a retail store fails to place warn of wet floors, the store owner would probably be found liable for any slip-and-fall accident. If someone falls after stepping in a large pothole in the parking lot, then that property owner would likely be liable.
But who’s responsible when snow and ice are involved? Property owners can’t control the weather, and you can’t sue Mother Nature. Yet, slip-and-fall accidents are caused by ice and snow all the time – so are would-be injured plaintiffs to be left out in the cold? As it turns out, not so.
Private & Public Property Owners Must Clear Ice & Snow
The duty of care that private and public property owners owe extends to any winter weather conditions affecting their property. In other words, even if these entities can’t control the weather, they are responsible for controlling how the weather has affected their properties.
This means that all property owners must clear ice and snow from sidewalks, pathways, driveways, stairs, parking lots, entryways, and all other locations that are normally accessible to the public, guests, or those invited onto a property.
How Do I Prove a Property Owner Was Responsible?
With any slip-and-fall accident, there are a few things that a plaintiff must demonstrate to prove that a property owner is liable for an injury.
When the accident involves snow and ice, that usually translates to showing that the property owner knew or should have known about ice and/or snow forming on their property. The plaintiff must also prove that the property owner failed to take reasonable measures to clear the ice or snow or even warn that they were present on the property. Lastly, the plaintiff should demonstrate that the owner owed a duty of care to them.
Who Can I Contact for Help?
If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident involving ice and/or snow, Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. can fight to ensure that the parties responsible for your injuries are held accountable. You may be able to recover damages that could account for new medical expenses or lost wages suffered while you were out on recovery.