Slip and fall injuries are some of the most common injuries in the United States and responsible for millions of emergency room visits each year. These injuries are very common during the winter in areas that receive lots of snow and ice. If you suffered injuries due to a slip and fall on snow or ice, you may have grounds for legal recovery depending on where and how the incident occurred. It is possible for a private property owner, another individual, or even the local or state government to absorb liability for your damages.
Premises liability laws pertain to property owners’ duty to ensure the safety and welfare of anyone who enters upon their property. This extends to private homeowners as well as private business owners. The federal, state, or local government may have jurisdiction over certain geographic locations or buildings, and those entities would be responsible for the care and maintenance of those premises.
Property owners must remove snow and ice from their premises if it accumulates in any area that may interrupt foot traffic. If snow or ice could accumulate on a roof or overhang and potentially fall on a visitor to the property, the owner should ensure proper safe removal once precipitation ends.
Most local ordinances dictate snow and ice removal requirements for property owners in each area. For example, a local ordinance may state that property owners must remove snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their properties within a certain amount of time from when the precipitation ends.
A slip and fall on snow or ice could potentially cause severe bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic head injuries. These injuries may not only lead to significant immediate medical costs but also require long-term rehabilitation or disability care. A victim could lose income from missed time at work or lost future earning capacity.
Property owners should take care to remove snow and ice from the walking paths around their properties as soon as possible after any winter storm. Failure to do so could potentially lead to very expensive slip and fall claims from injured visitors.