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Falling on Snowy or Icy Paths – Who is Responsible?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2015 | Premises Liability

Winter comes with snowy and icy conditions each year. While humans cannot control what Mother Nature delivers, they have to be responsible for the safety of their homes and business establishments. Negligence can lead to expensive lawsuits. The state has put in place various ordinances that determine who is to be held responsible when accidents happen. Various parties have the responsibility to provide a level of safety to the people that use their property. This responsibility can include removal of snow and ice or prevention of the development of hazards after snow accumulation.

Public and Commercial Property Owners

If you are injured on the icy sidewalk of a mall or a grocery store, negligence will most likely fall on the shoulder of the owner of the store. It is the responsibility of the owner of the store to clear the snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of the building, remove snow that has accumulated in the parking lots, and prevent the formation of black ice. In addition, the owners must make sure they place sand or salt in areas where black ice might form.

Residential Owners

Private homeowners aren’t left out when it comes to responsibility for snow and ice removal. An owner needs to clean the sidewalk in front of his or her residence. The cleaning needs to be thorough so that it does not leave any patches on paths. The homeowner needs to clear the pathway wide enough to allow for foot traffic. Additionally, areas that people might use need to be cleaned thoroughly. If the homeowner knows that snow might freeze on paths resulting in the dreaded black snow, then he or she has an obligation to prevent the ice from forming. The owner also has the obligation of monitoring the condition of the walkway to make sure it is safe for use at all times.

State and Local municipalities

State and local municipalities have the duty of making sure that ice and snow don’t accumulate on a bridge or a highway overpass. This snow might fall onto walkways and cause slip and fall accidents.

Typical Scenarios When Slip and Fall Accidents Result from Negligence

  • A sidewalk or a pathway is cleared in a haphazard way that creates icy patches.
  • The formation of black ice on paths and walkways.
  • If a property owner cleans only part of a sidewalk and leaves another part that leads to falls.
  • The formation of a downspout that pours water on a sidewalk, which freezes to become ice.

These and other circumstances prove that another party might be liable for your injury and you may be eligible for compensation. You need to work with a professional slip and fall attorney to investigate the details and file a claim if necessary. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.


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