When Can I Sue if I Slip and Fall on Ice?
If you are injured due to a slip and fall accident, it’s important to understand what types of cases you could file against the property owners or businesses involved. In general, there are three different ways that a person might sue over a slip and fall incident: negligence, premises liability, and strict liability.
Negligence claims require proof that the property owner or business owner knew about the hazard and failed to take reasonable steps to protect people like yourself from falling into it. For example, if a restaurant spills food onto the floor and someone slips and falls on it, the plaintiff must prove that the restaurant employee spilled the food intentionally or negligently. If the restaurant employee did spill the food accidentally, the plaintiff cannot recover under a negligence theory.
Premises liability requires proof that the property owner had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition and failed to warn you of it. For example, a store clerk does not have to warn customers that there is ice on the sidewalk outside the entrance because he knows that the sidewalk is icy. However, if the store manager tells him to clean up the ice while he is working inside the store, the manager has a duty to ensure that the sidewalk is safe.
Strict liability occurs when the property owner or business fails to maintain the property properly. This means that even if the owner or business did not cause the hazard, the owner or business still may be liable for your injuries because they allowed the hazard to exist. For example, if the ice causes a slippery spot on the sidewalk, the property owner or business may be strictly liable if they failed to maintain the sidewalk properly.
Can I File an Injury Claim For Slipping on Ice?
In most states, it is illegal to walk on someone else’s property without permission. This includes sidewalks, parking lots, streets, roads, etc. If you do fall down while walking in another person’s driveway, sidewalk, street, road, or parking lot, you could file a personal injury claim against the property owner. You might even qualify for compensation if you slipped on ice, snow, or mud.
Clearing Sidewalks, Walkways, and Parking Lots
A property owner has the responsibility to keep his or her premises free of dangerous conditions that could cause injury to others. This includes clearing sidewalks, walkways, or parking lots of snow and ice. Property owners are responsible for keeping the area clear of hazards even if it isn’t part of their lease agreement.
The law says that residential property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of the home, including the driveway. Commercial properties are expected to do the same. If you’re unsure whether your landlord or manager has cleared the sidewalk, ask him or her directly.
If you own commercial real estate, you likely have a written contract with your tenant that spells out how much snow and ice removal you’ll handle. You might want to review the terms of your lease and make sure that you understand what responsibilities fall under each party’s duties.
You don’t necessarily have to hire someone to shovel your walkway or driveway. You could use a push broom or rake to sweep away the snow and ice yourself. However, there are some things you should consider doing to help keep your area safer.
First, spread salt or sand around your entryway. Salt melts the snow and ice faster, while sand does the same thing but doesn’t melt as quickly. Second, lay down additional rugs to protect pedestrians’ feet. Finally, put up signs warning people about icy conditions. These signs should always be posted near doorways, especially those leading into garages or basements.