Can You Sue a Business for Slipping on Ice?

Can You Sue a Business for Slipping on Ice?

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Can You Sue a Business for Slipping on Ice?

If you're one of the millions of Americans that live in an area that has freezing weather during the winter months, you know how dangerous walking on ice can be. It's a fact of life that after a rain or snowfall, ice will amass on sidewalks, porches, parking lots, and other areas where there is foot traffic. While most property owners understand this and, as such, know they have a responsibility to keep visitors safe from danger, sometimes people don't take care of their property as they should, which can lead to injuries.

If you're asking, "can you sue a business for slipping on ice," you've likely already experienced a slip-and-fall accident due to ice. Generally, to have a successful claim, you have to demonstrate that the property owner was negligent, resulting in your injuries. If you can do this, you may have grounds to sue them for compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Morgan and Morgan are here to help.

For more information, you can contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • Are There Laws Concerning the Removal of Snow and Ice for Businesses?

    City ordinances and local laws generally dictate whether business owners, landlords, and even private property owners have a legal duty to remove ice and snow from public sidewalks and walkways. Typically, in areas where snow and ice can be a problem, there may also be state laws.

    For example, in Colorado, the owners of stores, buildings, and other public spaces are required to remove snow and ice to ensure safe access to the public. In Massachusetts, property owners and landlords are accountable for snow and ice on every square inch of their property.

    Still, most laws give property owners a reasonable amount of time to address hazardous conditions. For instance, in New York, property owners have four hours after the snowfall stops to take measures to ensure the safety of pedestrians. However, that only applies between the hours of 7 am and 9 pm. That means it could be complicated if you slipped and fell in the wee hours of the morning.  

    Since laws vary from state to state, the best thing to do if you've suffered an injury from slipping on ice is to consult one of our qualified slip and fall attorneys. We will need to review the facts of your potential legal claim and explain your options. If you do have a valid claim, you won't have to worry about pursuing a complicated premises liability lawsuit on your own.

  • What Is a Premises Liability Lawsuit?

    Premises liability lawsuits typically come about when a property owner or someone in possession of the property is negligent, and their carelessness results in harm to another individual. Both commercial and residential property owners can be subject to this type of claim. Some of the most common issues that give rise to premises liability lawsuits include the following:

    Poor maintenance - Building features such as steps, handrails, flooring, electrical fixtures, and elevators can become a hazard if not appropriately maintained. For example, suppose a building has broken handrails leading up a staircase. In that case, this can cause someone to lose their balance and fall, leaving the building owner liable for any injuries.

    Inadequate security - Business owners and property managers are responsible for ensuring visitors, guests, and employees are kept safe from criminal activity. Imagine a nightclub had a history of rowdy and aggressive patrons. Then, suppose a fight breaks out, and someone is injured because the nightclub owner didn't employ enough security guards. In that case, the injured party may be able to sue the owner for medical expenses and other losses because they knew of the potential for danger and didn't take the appropriate steps.

    Slip and fall hazards - As you may have guessed, accidents caused by slip and fall hazards on a property are the most common form of premises liability lawsuits. Snow, ice, and wet floors are frequent causes of slip-and-fall accidents, along with poorly maintained walkways and debris.

    Dog bites - Dog owners are obligated to keep their animals under control and restrained, particularly if the dog has known aggressive behaviors. Generally, if a dog bites someone because the owner didn't have adequate fencing or the dog was off-leash, the owner would be liable for any injuries.

  • How to Explain Premises Liability?

    All property owners are responsible for taking reasonable measures to ensure authorized guests, visitors, and customers are safe while they're on a property. Suppose a property owner is negligent, and an individual gets injured. In that case, the person who sustained injuries may have a claim for damages. However, four elements must be demonstrated to be successful.

    • The property owner was aware or should have been aware a dangerous condition existed
    • The property owner failed to fix or warn of the dangerous condition
    • The claimant was injured as a result of the dangerous condition
    • The claimant suffered damages (financial and other losses)
  • What is The Duty of Care of Business Property Owners?

    While all property owners owe a duty of care, business owners owe the highest duty of care to people they invite on their property to conduct business. Generally, you are considered an invitee when you go to a place of business for transactions or to get services. Business property owners are obligated to perform routine inspections of their property to ensure reasonably safe conditions.

    When asking, "can you sue a business for slipping on ice," the answer could be yes if the business owner failed to observe local or state laws and allowed ice to accumulate where people regularly walk. Even if no local laws are in place, you could still have a case if it would be reasonable to predict that ice could form and an accident could occur. For example, it's reasonable to conclude that a winter storm would result in ice. Also, anybody that lives in cold regions knows the slipping hazard that ice introduces. It's common sense. However, the challenge may boil down to state laws concerning premises liability, since they vary. It's impossible to predict every scenario, since each case is unique. That's why we urge you to reach out to Morgan and Morgan so that we can look into your particular situation.

  • Why Is Slipping on Ice So Dangerous?

    Slip and fall accidents can always result in bodily harm, but slipping on ice often results in severe injuries. That's because you fall faster and land harder than other kinds of slips and falls. Generally, no one is expecting to slip and fall. Still, instinct usually kicks in, and you may be able to catch yourself or put a hand out to lessen the impact. However, you may not have time to brace yourself instinctively when ice is involved. Instead, you may hit the ground with full force. Likewise, the severity of injuries can be influenced by how fast you are walking when you hit a patch of ice and how you fall. Some common ice-related injuries include the following:

    • Cuts and bruises
    • Strains and sprains
    • Broken bones
    • Traumatic brain injuries
    • Neck and spine injuries

    Since ice slip accidents cause victims to hit the ground harder and faster, it's not uncommon for injuries to result in long-term hospitalization and disabilities.

  • What Should I Do After Slipping on Ice on Someone Else's Property?

    Take pictures of the area where you fell before the property owner can clear the ice and snow, if possible. Collect the contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the fall, and report the incident to the property owner or manager. Ask for an incident report, but be wary of signing anything or making any statements that could imply you had any responsibility for the accident.

    Anytime you slip and fall on an ice patch, you should get medical help, especially if you hit your head. Concussions and even severe head trauma can go unnoticed and have dire consequences. Likewise, sprains and even fractures may not present immediately. Tell the doctor what happened and any pain you're feeling.

    Keep the shoes and clothing you wore at the time, as it may be called into question later. Additionally, after seeking medical treatment, document everything you can remember about the incident, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.

    Retain all documents related to the accident, like medical records, missed paychecks, and receipts. It would also be helpful to track how the accident has impacted your activities, such as missed events, loss of sleep, or inability to participate in family pastimes and hobbies.

    Since you're researching "can you sue a business for slipping on ice," the next logical step is to talk with a personal injury attorney at Morgan and Morgan.

  • What Damages Can Be Awarded for Ice-Related Slip and Fall Injuries?

    Here again, the type of damages that can be awarded under premises liability law will depend on the unique factors of your case. Generally, there are two categories of damages, which are economic and non-economic.

    Economic damages consist of losses that usually come with a price tag of sorts. For example, medical bills, lost income, the cost of transportation to and from doctor's appointments, and financial expenditures for in-home care and services due to your injuries are all economic damages.

    Non-economic damages aren't as easy to calculate, but they are just as important. For instance, pain and suffering are the most common forms of non-economic damage. This is meant to compensate you for the physical pain, discomfort, and mental anguish you have to deal with because of someone else's negligence. The courts will typically regard medical records and expert witness testimony when awarding pain and suffering compensation. Usually, it can be a significant amount.

    Finally, punitive damages can be awarded if it can be demonstrated that the business owner acted with extreme negligence or intent to cause others harm. As you can guess, punitive damages are rarely awarded in slip-and-fall lawsuits. However, consider the following scenario.

    Suppose it's early on Christmas Eve, and you go to the local grocery store. It's been raining, and temperatures are at freezing levels. Other customers warned the maintenance staff of the ice hazard but were too busy enjoying holiday snacks and didn't want to go outside to salt the parking lot because it was bitterly cold. As you make your way to the store entrance, you slip on ice and suffer a traumatic brain injury. In that case, it could make sense to pursue punitive damages because employees knew about the dangerous condition and blatantly disregarded their duty to keep business invitees safe.

  • Why Suing for an Ice-Related Slip and Fall Injury Is the Right Choice

    When you're injured because a property owner was negligent, it's not just about the injuries. Yes, you'll hopefully heal, but there are expenses to consider that shouldn't be your responsibility to pay. Why should your life suffer because someone else was thoughtless and neglected their duty to care? While we can't erase the incident, we can help you recover meaningful compensation to help make up for it. Morgan and Morgan have helped thousands of people recover compensation from financial and emotional losses. You don't have to worry about upfront payment, either. We only get paid when you get paid. That means you don't owe us for our services in the unlikely event we can't get a favorable settlement or verdict.

    We have offices across the U.S. with attorneys knowledgeable about the laws that can impact your claim. We will conduct an investigation, negotiate on your behalf, and, if necessary, take your issue to court. Premises liability law is complicated, especially for slip and fall accidents. You need an expert lawyer ready to do the heavy lifting in building a robust case with solid evidence. Contacting us today for a free case evaluation is the first step toward recovering compensation.

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