Steering Clear of Head Injuries
Law & Legal & Attorney Accidents & personal injury Law

Slip and Fall Accidents and Winter Weather

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As I sit here at my desk looking out the window, I realize that now is a great time to talk about slip and fall accidents.
It's wet, cold, blustery, and snowing...
prime slip and fall weather.
Slip and fall accidents can happen at any time of year (obviously) but occur far more frequently once the winter weather rolls around.
I'd like to talk about slip and fall accidents that occur on private property as a result of icy conditions.
Slip and falls on public property have different legal rules in many jurisdictions, so I'll leave that for an entirely different discussion.
So, let's assume that you have suffered a slip and fall accident on ice on the property of a neighbor, friend, or store.
You've injured yourself, possibly even breaking a bone.
Can you sue for your damages and win? Well, the answer is a definite maybe.
You must keep in mind that when you slip and fall and suffer injury, you are suing someone for being negligent in their care or upkeep of the property.
Negligence is determined in a slip and fall action as it is in any other type of legal suit.
Negligence consists of three prongs.
Namely, did the property owner owe you a duty of care? If so, then did the property owner meet the standard of care expected? Further, if the property owner did not meet the standard of care expected, were your damages caused by that failure to meet the standard of care.
Let's look at each of these points individually: Duty of care-Essentially, if it is expected that an individual will enter upon the property, then a duty of care is owed.
In most slip and fall situations on private property, it is anticipated that a duty of care is owed to whomever enters upon that property for whatever purpose they may enter, whether that be visitors, salespeople, delivery persons, etc.
Standard of care-This is the point at which most property owners fail the test of negligence in slip and fall accidents.
Many do not have diligent plans to prevent slip and falls.
For instance, after a snow fall is snow promptly cleared? Or, if the weather drops causing rain to freeze on the sidewalks are stairs, have products to prevent icing been properly spread on the hazardous areas to prevent slip and falls? It is noteworthy that store owners who diligently clear parking lots and sidewalk areas and keep records of the snow and ice clearing are often found to meet the standard expected.
Afterall, if it has just started snowing or if freezing rain is in progress there is only so much that a private property owner can do to keep visitors from suffering harm in a slip and fall accident.
If pooling of water is known to develop in certain areas, it is advisable to pay special attention to those areas to prevent ice build-up.
Causation-If you suffered a slip and fall on someone's property, you may not be entitled to damages even if the first two prongs of the negligence test were met.
If your injuries can not be proven to arise from the slip and fall you may not be entitled to compensation.
This is the reason it is important to report your injury as soon as possible after it occurs.
It is advisable to seek medical attention immediately for your injury.
It is also advisable to request an incident report be filled out if you have suffered a slip and fall at a store property.
Often cases are defended on the basis that your injury did not happen on the property you claim it happened upon.
It is your onus to prove where the slip and fall occurred so make sure you take the necessary steps to do so.
Ambulance reports, witness statements, and incident reports are all useful tools to prove the location of the slip and fall accident.
Even if the property owner is found to be negligent and responsible for your slip and fall injuries, you may also be found to be partially responsible.
Were you wearing appropriate footwear for the conditions? Were you watching where you were going? Were you participating in activities that prevented you from being watchful of the poor weather conditions? In many slip and fall accidents, the person who falls is found to contribute to their own fate, sometimes with the majority of the fault being on the injured person.
Winter weather is nasty.
Take precautions.
Wear proper footwear.
Watch where you are going.
And if, despite your best efforts, you still have the bad fortune of suffering an injury in a slip and fall accident, visit a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn your rights.


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