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Slip, Trip & Fall Accidents Due to Snow & Ice: Do You Have a Case?

Serving Families Throughout Garden City

Premises Liability and Negligence

When a blanket of snow or a sheet of ice leads to an unfortunate slip and fall, understanding how negligence is established is crucial for any potential claim. Premises liability holds property owners accountable for maintaining a safe environment, and this duty extends to managing wintry hazards. Determining negligence involves assessing whether the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take appropriate action to mitigate the risk.

Examples of accident conditions that may indicate a property owner bears some liability include:

  • Unshoveled Sidewalks: Failure to clear snow from walkways leading to pedestrians slipping.
  • Icy Parking Lots: Not salting or sanding parking areas, resulting in falls.
  • Snowy Staircases: Neglecting to remove snow from steps or fire escapes, causing slip and fall incidents.
  • Poorly Lit Areas: Insufficient lighting in areas prone to ice accumulation, making hazards less visible during evening or early morning hours.
  • Icy Overhangs: Allowing snow or ice to build up on roofs or overhangs, which can then fall onto individuals below.
  • Blocked Emergency Exits by Snow: Obstructing emergency exits with snow, leading to trips or falls during an emergency evacuation.

Proving Liability in Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents

The legal principle of a property owner's duty of care requires landlords, business owners, and even homeowners to take reasonable steps to ensure their property is safe for visitors. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities can be viewed as negligence, making the property owner potentially liable for accidents and injuries that occur as a result.

Key elements to proving negligence may include:

  • Foreseeability: Showing that the property owner could reasonably predict that their failure to address snow and ice accumulation might lead to an accident.
  • Notice: Evidence proving that the property owner was aware, or should have been aware, of the hazardous condition before the accident occurred and should have provided warning or notice of the conditions to visitors.
  • Causation: It must be clear that the accident was caused by the hazardous condition attributed to the property owner's negligence and not by the injured party’s carelessness.
  • Damage: Finally, documentation of the injuries and related expenses is required to establish the damages incurred due to the fall.

Gathering evidence, such as photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and medical records, is crucial in building a strong case. Additionally, understanding the nuances of local laws and statutes that govern premises liability is vital for navigating these complex legal waters.

What to Do if You Are Injured

Knowing what to do if you are injured on someone else's property in a slip, trip, or fall accident can significantly impact both your health and any future claim you may decide to pursue.

First and foremost, seek medical attention. Your health is the top priority. Even if the injury seems minor, some symptoms may not appear immediately. A healthcare professional can provide a thorough examination and document your injuries, which is crucial for any legal action.

Next, we encourage you to contact an attorney sooner rather than later. This proactive approach can help you better understand your rights and legal options post-accident.

An attorney can help with a wide range of post-accident issues, including:

  • Case evaluation
  • Evidence collection
  • Insurance company negotiations
  • Healthcare provider negotiations
  • Filing a legal claim
  • Courtroom representation

Dealing with injuries after a slip-and-fall accident can be painful, stressful, and overwhelming. Turn to the team at Foley Griffin for guidance. We are here to help.

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