Is Sliding on Ice an At-Fault Accident?

Is Sliding on Ice an At-Fault Accident?

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Is Sliding on Ice an At-Fault Accident?

During winter, ice and snow can turn sidewalks, steps, and parking lots into danger zones. It only takes a split second, and you find yourself on your back and in pain, wondering how you got there.

Slip and fall accidents involving ice can cause victims to hit the ground harder and faster than in other falls, potentially causing catastrophic or even fatal injuries. However, sliding on ice could be an at-fault accident. In other words, a business or property owner might be responsible when you or a loved one gets hurt. Moreover, if a property owner is liable, you could qualify for considerable damages, such as lost wages, healthcare expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

Morgan & Morgan knows the effects of fall injuries on victims’ lives. We can leave no stone unturned in fighting for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn about your legal rights in a free case evaluation.

Premises Liability and Sliding on Ice: What You Need to Know

Premises liability law protects those injured on another’s property. Business and property owners must ensure their premises are safe and free from dangers.

If a property owner fails to maintain their premises or warn of hazards, they could be responsible when visitors come to harm. In other words, if you slip and fall due to wet or icy floors, you could receive compensation from the property owner or operator.

What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?

Knowing what qualifies as a slip and fall under the law is critical for understanding whether sliding on ice is an at-fault accident. Slips and falls are common types of premises liability and occur when individuals are injured on someone else’s property.

Slip and fall accidents are not always harmless and can cause life-changing injuries and deaths, especially in older individuals. Moreover, severe falls are increasing: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects deaths from falls to rise to seven an hour in the U.S. by 2030.  

Slip and fall accidents can happen for various reasons, including:

  • Ice and snow accumulations
  • Wet floors
  • Poor lighting
  • Broken and uneven flooring
  • Loose carpets and rugs

If you slip and fall on another’s property due to one of these reasons or others, you could file a premises liability lawsuit and pursue damages. However, you could have a fight on your hands as a property owner may argue that you are responsible for your own injuries. Morgan & Morgan’s dedicated slip and fall lawyers can help you learn about your legal rights and options if you slide and fall on ice at another’s property.

When Sliding on Ice Is an At-Fault Accident

If you wonder, “Is sliding on ice an at-fault accident?” there is no straightforward answer. Slipping on ice is generally not considered an at-fault accident. However, there can be exceptions:

  1. You slipped on ice at another’s property, such as a business, restaurant, or government building. AND
  2. The property owner knew or should have known about the ice and failed to take action to prevent visitors from falling and suffering injuries.

For example, if a property owner knows that their parking lot is usually icy and slippery in winter and neglects to salt or grit the area, they may be at fault and legally responsible when a visitor gets hurt.

What You Should Do After Slipping and Falling on Ice

If someone else caused your fall, you should not have to pay for their mistake or carelessness. Taking specific steps to protect your rights can be critical for your compensation claim.

Get a Medical Evaluation

The first step after falling on ice is to seek medical help, even if you believe you are uninjured. A medical professional can ensure you don’t have undetected injuries, such as a concussion or herniated disc. Some injuries don’t show symptoms immediately, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Visiting the doctor will also document your injuries, which is critical for a compensation claim.

Report the Slip and Fall on Ice

If you were hurt due to sliding and falling on ice, promptly report the accident to the property owner or manager. Note the time, date, and exact location of the accident. Completing an accident report can be crucial if you need to pursue legal action later. Reporting hazardous ice can also help others avoid similar accidents and prompt property owners to remove the ice.

Document the Accident and Your Injuries

Take photos of the accident scene and any ice or snow on the ground. If you can, photograph your injuries, including cuts, bruises, and other visible harm. Keep detailed notes of your pain, symptoms, and medical treatments you receive, as this will be evidence for your compensation claim. If there are witnesses of your fall, ensure to gather their names and contact details.

Contact a Slip and Fall Lawyer

Slips and falls on ice can be tough to prove, and property owners may blame victims for their injuries. An experienced premises liability lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can help you with all aspects of your claim, including gathering evidence, communicating with the property owner’s insurance company, and pursuing legal action if necessary.

Injuries from Slipping and Falling on Ice

Whether sliding on ice is an at-fault accident or not, the consequences of such a fall can be devastating for individuals and have severe implications for their health. Falls on ice can be more dangerous than other falls due to the following:

Surface hardness: Unlike softer surfaces, such as grass or carpeting, ice does not provide any cushioning effect, and a fall can cause more severe injuries.

Slipperiness: Since ice is extremely slippery and often invisible, it can catch individuals off-guard, leaving them unable to cushion their falls with their arms and hands.

Cold weather: The cold weather conditions in which such falls typically occur can also contribute to more serious outcomes. Muscles stiffen in lower temperatures, making severe injuries more likely. Individuals may also suffer hypothermia when falling on ice, especially if they have to wait long for help to arrive.

Ice-Related Fall Injuries

Individuals slipping and falling on ice or snow may sustain the following injuries and others:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Cracked tailbone
  • Fractured limbs
  • Bruises and cuts
  • Knee injuries
  • Spinal cord damage

Treating fall injuries can be expensive and lengthy. If a property owner caused your fall, you need to know your options for holding them responsible. Morgan & Morgan is here to advise you, free of charge, and determine your next best steps for getting what you deserve.

Compensation for Ice-Fall Victims

Compensation will vary from one case to another. However, if you were significantly injured due to ice on another’s property, you could qualify for various damages, such as:

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses are common damages in slip and fall claims. You could be entitled to all fall-related healthcare costs, including but not limited to:

  • Hospital bills
  • Physical therapies
  • Specialist appointments
  • Medical devices, such as a wheelchair
  • Prescription medications

Lost Wages

If your fall injuries are so severe that you cannot work, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost income, benefits, and other wage losses. You could also qualify for future income loss if your injury causes a long-term impairment.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages compensate victims for their physical and emotional pain and can include awards for:

  • Chronic pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of mobility
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of life quality

Property Damage

If your personal property was damaged or destroyed in the fall, such as a broken phone and damaged clothing, you may be entitled to compensation for repairing or replacing your items.

If your sliding on ice was an at-fault accident, you should seek legal help immediately to protect your rights. You may only have limited time to file a compensation claim. An experienced premises liability lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can walk you through your options and move forward with a claim.

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FAQ

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

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  • How Can I Prove a Property Owner’s Responsibility for My Ice-Related Fall?

    When determining whether sliding on ice is an at-fault accident and entitles you to compensation, several factors will come into play, including:

    Prior Knowledge of Ice

    If the responsible party knew or should have known of the ice on their property and did nothing about it, they may be liable for your damages. For example, if the property owner received complaints from prior visitors about ice, snow, or slippery conditions and ignored them, they may be negligent. The same is true if victims already suffered falls due to ice and snow at the property.

    Maintenance and Inspection

    Business and property owners must maintain their premises adequately. If a property owner neglects maintenance and cannot show that they regularly inspect and resolve ice buildup on their property, you could have a good case.

    Each slip and fall case involving ice is unique, and determining who is responsible will depend on the specific circumstances of your fall. An experienced premises liability lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can help prove a property owner’s liability and fight for the settlement you deserve. 

  • What if I Am Partially At-Fault for My Sliding on Ice Accident?

    In most states, the legal concept of contributory negligence comes into play when the injured person is partially responsible for the fall. In ice-related slip and fall claims, a property owner could argue that the victim didn’t take reasonable precautions, such as wearing inappropriate shoes or failing to pay attention to the icy and slippery conditions.

    If you are partially responsible for your fall and injuries, contributory negligence could reduce or eliminate your ability to recover damages. Therefore, you should speak to a premises liability attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

  • Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer?

    If an insurance adjuster contacts you after your fall offering a settlement, you must proceed cautiously. A quick settlement offer can be an attempt by the insurance company to pay out less than your claim’s worth. Such settlement offers are usually too low to compensate victims properly for injuries and financial losses in a sliding on ice at-fault accident.

    Moreover, signing on the dotted line and accepting a settlement check usually prevents you from pursuing additional compensation later. Therefore, do not accept a settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries and damages. Even better, consult an experienced premises liability attorney and discuss the settlement offer before deciding.

    Morgan & Morgan never settles for less. When we take your case, you can trust us to fight for every dollar you deserve. If an insurance company is dragging its heels, we can drag it to court and fight vigorously for what you deserve. 

  • Can I Afford a Slip and Fall Lawyer?

    Many premises liability lawyers work on contingency, which means they do not charge upfront attorney’s fees and instead receive a percentage of your final settlement. However, beware that some slip and fall lawyers charge their clients upfront for legal expenses, such as court filing fees.

    Morgan & Morgan doesn’t charge you a dime out of your pocket. When we take your case, you pay nothing unless we win and you receive compensation.

  • Morgan & Morgan Wants You to Get What You Deserve

    We know that slipping and falling on ice can cause severe injuries and financial hardship and turn your whole life upside down. However, you are not alone. Morgan & Morgan’s tenacious premises liability lawyers want to help you get adequate compensation and hold the responsible property owner accountable.  

    The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can determine whether your sliding on ice was an at-fault accident and pursue maximum compensation. Don’t wait; Contact us now for a free case review to find out more.

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