Slip and Falls on Ice and Snow

Posted On November 8, 2023 Premises Liability

Slips and falls on ice and snow often result from negligence. If you or a loved one slipped, fell, and suffered injuries from ice or snow, a personal injury lawyer will determine who you can hold financially responsible for your medical bills, lost income, and other damages.

Business owners, public organizations, homeowners, and other parties may have a duty to remove ice and snow from their premises. If any responsible party fails to protect you from slipping hazards, a Connecticut premises liability attorney can demand that they pay you fairly.

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Ice and Snow Are Clear, Foreseeable Slipping Hazards

Slip and Falls on Ice and Snow

When determining liability for a fall, you (or your lawyer) must answer a glaring question: Was the hazard that caused you to slip and fall foreseeable?

A property owner must remove a foreseeable hazard or otherwise protect visitors from it. Ice and snow—beyond a doubt—are foreseeable slipping hazards.

States with long, cold winters can see a higher-than-average rate of fall-related deaths, which is no coincidence.

Ice and snow are dangerous because:

  • Ice is hard to see
  • Ice is slick and may cause an immediate and unstoppable fall
  • Snow can melt into puddles, which can freeze into ice
  • Snow and snow-related moisture can make otherwise safe walking surfaces into slick slipping hazards

Certain populations, including the elderly and visually impaired, already face a heightened risk of slipping and falling. When they encounter snow and ice that someone should have removed, they can slip, fall, and hurt themselves.

Rain, snow, and ice are obvious slipping hazards. Therefore, property owners (and others responsible for the safety of a given property) must take proactive measures to prevent ice- and snow-related slips and falls.

How Can Property Owners Protect Visitors From Ice and Snow?

Property owners generally must protect:

  • Employees
  • Those who pass through their property
  • Workers (such as repairmen)
  • Customers
  • Invited guests
  • Anyone else legally on their property

There are several ways to reduce the likelihood of snow- and ice-related slip and fall accidents, including:

Monitoring Every Square Foot of Their Property

The first step in removing slipping hazards is being aware of slipping hazards.

Property owners can monitor their property for hazards by:

  • Personally making rounds
  • Instructing employees to make regular rounds and address any present hazards
  • Installing cameras that allow for remote property monitoring (even if this is not solely sufficient to identify hazards)

If a property owner cannot personally tend to their property, they must hire and train employees who can.

Identifying Locations Where Snow and Ice Are Likely to Accumulate

Certain property locations may pose a high risk of snow and ice accumulation.

These locations may include:

  • Areas around gutters, where water may turn to ice
  • Outdoor areas where pipes or other water sources drip, as this may cause puddles that turn to ice
  • Freezers and other cold indoor areas where ice may accumulate
  • Any outdoor area where snow falls and accumulates

A property owner must be familiar with their property’s unique features, including the hazards that arise during wintertime.

Using Deicer

Sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and other deicers—essentially, salt—can loosen snow and ice so the property owner can remove it from walkways.

Using Heat to Melt Snow and Ice

When possible, property owners may melt snow using:

  • Heat-emitting light bulbs
  • Flame-powered heat lamps
  • Handheld heat sources
  • Propane-powered heaters
  • Any other safe device that emits heat

Such heating sources may eliminate ice and snow (albeit temporarily) and substantially reduce slipping risks on a property.

Cordoning Off Areas Where the Owner Cannot Remove Ice or Snow

If a property owner cannot remove ice or snow in a reasonable time, they must ensure that visitors cannot access dangerous areas of their property. Whether it is putting up a Slippery When Wet sign, tape, or physical barriers, a property owner must protect visitors from slipping hazards.

Installing Slip-Resistant Flooring

When possible, a property owner should install the most slip-resistant flooring available. Slick tile flooring at a building’s entry point can pose a clear hazard. If visitors track in snow, it will melt and create a persistent slipping hazard.

Property owners must foresee winter slipping hazards and install or upgrade their flooring accordingly.

Encouraging Employees and Visitors to Wear Appropriate Footwear

Though it is ultimately the property owner’s duty to prevent slips and falls, they can also inform employees and visitors of best practices. They may warn these parties that snow and ice can present a hazard despite the property owner’s best efforts.

Installing Adequate Lighting Throughout a Property

Adequate lighting can prevent slip and fall accidents by:

  • Helping the property owner (and employees) spot potential slipping hazards
  • Helping visitors see any ice or snow that can cause a slip and fall
  • Helping visitors see any signs or other preventative measures the property owner puts in place

If any other appropriate measures decrease the risk of someone slipping on ice or snow, a property owner should implement those measures.

When Can You Hold a Property Owner Liable for Slips and Falls on Ice or Snow?

A property owner is liable for a slip and fall accident when their actions (or failures to act) qualify as negligence. Negligence occurs when someone does not take the steps a reasonable person should take in the same circumstances.

If a reasonable property owner might have foreseen the slipping hazard—and taken steps to mitigate the hazard—then the property owner who failed to address the hazard is negligent.

Your slip and fall accident lawyer may prove a property owner’s negligence by:

  • Proving the property owner owed you a duty of care: Property owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect visitors. This is known as a duty of care.
  • Proving the property owner breached their duty of care: If the property owner did not take all reasonable measures to protect you, they violated their duty of care. Your attorney will detail specific failures that qualify as a breach of duty of care.
  • Linking the breach of duty of care to your fall (and injuries): Your attorney will create a clear, detailed timeline showing how the violation of duty of care caused your fall and resulting injuries.
  • Proving the harm resulting from your fall: Your attorney will document the damages caused by the property owner’s breach of duty of care, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and other economic or non-economic damages.

Your lawyer may cite expert testimony about how the property owner (or other liable party) should have prevented your slip and fall accident. By comparing and contrasting best safety practices and the shortcomings of the liable party, your lawyer may prove beyond a doubt that their negligence caused you harm.

How Fall Victims Should Respond to Their Injuries

How Fall Victims Should Respond to Their Injuries

Make your recovery your primary concern once you fall and suffer injuries on ice or snow. However, the need for a financial recovery also carries great importance.

You will benefit both your health and your case for compensation by:

  • Seeking immediate medical attention: You should get medical care immediately after your slip and fall accident. By getting a diagnosis for all fall-related injuries, you will establish that your fall—and, by extension, the property owner’s negligence—was the cause of your health problems.
  • Keeping documentation of your medical care: You should request and keep copies of any medical images, bills, or other treatment-related paperwork. Your attorney may use such paperwork as proof of your damages. An attorney can also gather this paperwork for you.
  • Keeping a record of injury symptoms: You may have symptoms that medical records do not describe, such as headaches and mental health struggles. You may keep a journal of such symptoms for your lawyer to use.
  • Hiring an attorney: You may hire a lawyer for several reasons, and they will immediately take over your case.

Follow your doctor’s advice. Sticking to a treatment plan will avoid allegations that you worsened your fall-related injuries.

Primary Reasons Why Fall Victims Hire a Premises Liability Lawyer

When you fall and suffer injuries, you need to recover. However, you may also need money to cover medical bills, lost income, and other damages. Without a lawyer, you may find these two goals at odds—if you try to lead your own case, you may place your health at risk.

By hiring a lawyer, you:

  • Choose to have a premises liability attorney handle every detail of your case
  • Give yourself more time to rest and recover from your injuries
  • Can often recover more quickly because you are not facing the stress of an insurance claim or lawsuit
  • Accept the financial support a law firm provides—the firm will cover all case-related expenses without receiving an upfront fee
  • May place your case in a position for success because an experienced attorney is leading it

Attorneys can provide stability and relief following a slip and fall on ice or snow. There is no substitute for legal experience, and your law firm will lift the burden of your case off your shoulders.

How Can I Seek Money for Fall-Related Damages?

Your lawyer may seek compensation for your fall-related injuries by:

  1. Filing a claim with the liable party’s insurance company
  2. Filing a lawsuit against liable parties

Your lawyer will review the unique circumstances of your case and recommend a case strategy. Whether you pursue a claim or lawsuit, your attorney will lead every step of the way.

Most civil cases result in a settlement, and weather-related slip and fall accidents are no exception. However, settlements depend on liable parties agreeing to pay you fairly. If your lawyer exhausts the negotiating process without receiving an acceptable offer, they should be ready to take your case to court.

Recoverable Damages for Fall Victims

Over one million Americans suffer injuries from slip and fall accidents each year, and each injured party suffers different damages.

Some of the common types of economic and non-economic harm among fall victims include:

  • Physical pain: If your fall caused you to suffer one or more injuries, it likely caused pain. In some cases, fall-related injuries cause recurring (and perhaps chronic) pain. Attorneys account for such pain when seeking compensation for slip and fall accidents.
  • Emotional and psychological distress: A fall and the realities you face from injuries can be distressing. You may deserve compensation for any depression, anxiety, sleep problems, lost quality of life, scarring and disfigurement, and other non-economic harm caused by your accident.
  • Mental health treatment costs: If you need any treatment for the emotional and psychological toll of being injured, your lawyer will demand that liable parties cover your treatment expenses. This is especially true if medications, therapy, and other forms of relief are explicitly necessary due to the symptoms of your fall.
  • Lost income: Fall victims often miss work, and falls that cause disabling injuries can result in permanent unemployment. Recoverable damages may include lost income, diminished earning power, missed performance bonuses, lost progress towards promotions, lost benefits (if you lost your job or are disabled because of the fall), and the loss of psychological benefits you receive from working.
  • Medical bills: Your premises liability lawyer should seek compensation for all fall-related medical bills.

Attorneys calculate damages for every client they represent. They will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, which means calculating damages accurately and completely.

When you hire a premises liability lawyer to lead your case, you can rest assured that they will fight for all the money you deserve.

Hire a Premises Liability Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Premises Liability Lawyer, Brian Flood

Brian Flood, Premises Liability Attorney

The deadline for filing your case may expire soon. If you do not file your case in time, you can forfeit your chance to pursue a financial recovery. As soon as you hire a lawyer, they will prepare and file your case and fight for the settlement you deserve.

A slip and fall on ice or snow can happen in an instant, but can affect your life for years to come. Never hesitate to protect yourself and your future by hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim.

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