In many parts of the country, the accumulation of ice and snow is brought on by winter. Unfortunately, an increased risk for slip and fall accidents also comes along with ice and snow. If, in a public place, you slip and fall due to ice and/or snow, would you be able to file a personal injury claim? There are a number of things that can go into the determination of liability in winter slip and fall cases. Here, we’ll take a look at some of them.
What Determines Liability In Winter Slip And Fall Incidents?
It may not be easy, particularly without a qualified, competent attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit against the government if you trip/slip and fall on government property (i.e. city sidewalk, county parking lot). Accident liability is usually an immunity enjoyed by local and state governments. In some specific, limited ways, however, that liability has been waived.
If you fall on government property, get yourself an experienced, competent, knowledgeable attorney. At the end of this piece, we’ll introduce you to just such a team of professionals.
The Natural Accumulation Rule and Reasonableness
When it comes to landowners, what is reasonable when it comes to ice and snow removal? What can be expected by the person walking on a sidewalk? The answer to both of these can have everything to do with the location of the accident. For example, what’s reasonable in North Carolina might not be deemed reasonable in New Jersey.
In most cases, the accumulation of ice and snow relieves a property owner of liability thanks to the rule of “natural accumulation”. Holding the property owner liable could be difficult as long as no danger considered “abnormal” exists, and the natural accumulation wasn’t interfered with by the owner of the property.
After it has stopped snowing, a reasonable amount of time within which snow should be removed from sidewalks, parking lots is “generally interpreted” as approximately 24 hours. The best practice, however, is to remove snow after every few inches of accumulation.
Winter Weather Hazards – Property Owners Duty Of Care
On commercial area sidewalks and parking lots, slip and fall accidents happen regularly in winter weather. When it comes to maintaining areas where there is expected traffic by the community and customers, reasonable care must be exercised. That is the duty of a property owner. To reduce the risk of injuries and falls, within a reasonable time, ice and snow must be removed. Additionally, the property must be periodically inspected for such conditions. It could be deemed negligence if this legal duty is seen as unfulfilled.
Corradino & Papa – Your Champions of Justice!
We are a Clifton, New Jersey-located personal injury law firm that is proud to serve clients in and around New Jersey. Locations include:
- Union County
- Hudson County
- Essex County
- Bergen County
- and many, many more counties and cities.
If you have been hurt in a fall or slip – or in some other manner – let us do all the work and worry while you just concern yourself with getting well.
Fill out our convenient online form to book a free consultation at no obligation to you.