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Injury Liability for Falls on Snow and Ice

Falls on ice covered sidewalks are a common occurrence in northern states. Regardless of your location, it’s likely that the property owner has a duty to keep his or her premises reasonably safe for people who might come upon the premises.  

In many states, there are special exemptions to the normal property owner’s obligations regarding both warnings and the removal of hazards when the condition is considered a natural occurrence. In northern states where snow and ice are common in winter, many states have passed ordinances or laws that require the property owner to remove the accumulation of snow and ice within a certain time frame from areas that are open to public use, such as a sidewalk or walkway.

Some northern jurisdictions permit a lapse of time between the deposit of the snow or ice and the required removal time. For instance, if it snows on a Thursday at 3 p.m., a city ordinance may allow you up to 9 a.m. on the following day to clear your sidewalk. A slip and fall lawyer would help tremendously in these types of situations. 

What to do if you’ve been injured by a fall on snow and ice

One of the most important things to do if you’ve been injured by a fall on snow and ice is to document the conditions with photos as close as possible to the time of the fall. This is difficult if your injury prevents it. However, if you were injured on the premises of a business, simply notifying the business of the fall will make it of record, and put the business on notice to preserve any video footage or other evidence. It could also help prevent the next person from being injured by the same condition.

If you cannot take photos of the conditions at the time of the fall, be sure to make notes of the time and weather conditions. The timing can be important if your jurisdiction has city ordinances with specific times when accumulating snow and ice must be cleared from public sidewalks. 

At a minimum, you should contact a premises liability lawyer, such as the attorneys at the McGrady Law Firm, as soon as possible after a fall on snow and ice due to the unique variables of these types of cases as the obligations of the property owner may vary depending on the nature of the area where the fall occurred. And, remember, your actions in reporting the fall as promptly as possible will help not only in the event you have to pursue litigation, but it could prevent others from the same accident and injuries.

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