If you slip and fall on snow or ice, who is liable?
So that their customers, guests, and lawful visitors don’t face unreasonable risks, property owners have a legal duty to make sure that their grounds and properties are clear of ice and snow. When slip and fall injuries occur due to the buildup of snow and/or ice, liability for such damages must be determined.
Liability for snow slip and fall injuries may end up on the victim, a third party, a public agency, or a property owner.
Potential Liability For Snow Slip And Fall Accidents
If a safety issue creates a foreseeable potential injury, the rectification of that safety issue falls under a “duty of care” for the property owner. For snow and ice removal, many local and state governments also have precise laws. For example, this could apply to sidewalks in front of the home of someone who is – according to law – responsible for clearing away ice and snow.
Even though many companies hire contracted services to make sure their grounds are free from snow and ice, in the end, it may not be enough to protect them if a customer has a slip and fall accident on their property.
Investigations into whether or not the property owner took steps that were adequate to prevent injuries will help determine outcomes. However, if the slip and fall victim – while walking through the area – did not act with reasonable care, this could sabotage any hope they may have of a successful lawsuit.
Icey Surface Slip and Fall Injuries – Potentially Liable Parties
It’s not uncommon for someone who slips and falls on snow to think of placing the blame, first and foremost, on the property owner. Liability will only fall on the property owner, however, if they:
- Somehow changed the natural accumulation of ice and snow on the property
- Failed to use reasonable care of the property
What will need to be proven by the plaintiff:
- Reasonable care was not exercised by the property owner regarding the clearing of snow and ice or maintenance of the property
Publicly Controlled Property
If a slip and fall occurs on the steps of a government building, in a public park, or some other publicly controlled property, liability for the victim’s damages may fall on a government entity. However, compared to taking legal action against a private company or individual, it’s much harder to file a lawsuit against a government agency or public office. Freeing them from civil liabilities, numerous government agencies have sovereign immunity. In other cases, only under very strict circumstances, can legal claims be allowed. State laws may limit the victim’s recovery and they would need to meet a very short statute of limitations, in most cases.
Damages and Comparative Negligence
For their accident, liability can be incurred by the slip and fall victim themselves. Regarding the claimed damages: If a jury says that they are personally at fault, a portion of their damages can be lost by the plaintiff (if comparative negligence laws are followed in the state in question).
Example: An individual would not be exercising reasonable care if they ran on a snowy surface. So the slip and fall victim – the plaintiff – would receive no damages at all to some reduced damages.
Count on Corradino and Papa, LLC To Fight for Your Rights After a Slip and Fall Injury
Every year, one of the most common causes of injuries is slip and fall incidents. Injuries can be short-lived and minor, major and lengthy, or anything in between. A property owner can be held responsible for their negligence if they fail to ensure safe premises.
If you have slipped and fallen on private property, company property, etc., contact the law office of Corradino and Papa. We will handle everything for you in a professional, expert manner.
For numerous other types of personal injuries, we can also offer knowledgeable, compassionate representation – we’ll fight for your rights.
Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.