In many states, winter brings freezing temperatures, sleet, blustery winds, and significant amounts of snow. This type of weather makes people very hesitant to drive in, however, it can be just as treacherous to walk around in as well. Ice and snow can accumulate on parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks which can create dangerous conditions during the winter months. These conditions can lead to slip and fall accidents that can lead to serious and, at times, lifelong injuries. A small sampling of what victims of slip and fall accidents can face are:
- Spinal cord and head injuries
- Hip injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic Brain injuries
It is not uncommon for slip and fall victims to feel embarrassed about their fall and believe they were entirely at fault. However, this is not always the case. Property owners have specific legal duties to make sure their property, which include stairwells, walkways, parking lots, and sidewalks, are free from any dangerous conditions.
Premises liability is a legal term that discusses the liability property owners have to ensure their property is safe from any hazards that could harm others and relates to commercial businesses, rental properties, and private homes. Slip and fall accidents can be difficult when they involve ice and snow. It can be difficult to understand the responsible party for keeping their property clear of slip and fall dangers. Do not hesitate to seek out a slip and fall attorneys turns to, to ensure that you are making the best claim possible.
Homeowners: When you own a home, you are responsible to remove snow and ice. The locations you must remove snow and ice from include:
If you became injured by slipping and falling on snow or ice while at a private home, the owner of the property may be held liable for any of your lost wages, medical bills, or pain and suffering.
Businesses: After a snowstorm, business entrances and parking lots can instantly become treacherous. The business owner has the responsibility to keep their property safe. If you became injured by falling on unmaintained walkways while at a business, the business owner could be liable for your lost wages and medical bills.
Rental Properties: It can be difficult to decide who is responsible if someone suffers a slip and fall accident while at a rental property. The lease agreement should state who is responsible to keep the driveway and walkways free of snow and ice. The lease agreement could state that the landlord, tenant, or property manager are responsible. If you were injured at a rental property from snow and ice, depending on what the lease states, the tenant, landlord, or property manager could be liable for any accident-related fees and medical bills.
In order for homeowners, business owners, or rental property owners to be held responsible for slip and fall accidents that occur on their property, a few factors need to be considered:
- The owners caused the unsafe condition.
- The owners knew there was an unsafe condition and chose not to do anything about it.
- The owners were told about the unsafe condition but chose not to fix it.