When the winter weather hits, it increases the odds of slip-and-fall accidents. This is true on residential sidewalks, and it’s also true on commercial properties.
Snow and ice can make it very hazardous for someone to walk through a parking lot. They may be more likely to trip and fall on loose snow or slush, to lose their balance on the ice or to be struck by a vehicle that is sliding on that icy surface.
Even on the sidewalks in front of commercial properties, slip-and-fall accidents can happen. In a split second, someone could go from feeling fine to having a broken arm, a skull fracture, a back injury or another serious issue that needs immediate medical treatment.
Are property owners liable?
Property owners certainly can be liable for these injuries and the expenses they create. Often, the issue is negligence.
For example, say that a store owner neglects to properly plow or shovel their parking lot. They do shovel the sidewalk, but they don’t put down any salt or icemelt, so the sidewalk turns into a smooth sheet of ice over time.
This isn’t to say that property owners are obligated to remove every speck of ice and snow. But they do need to take some steps to make these areas reasonably safe. If they are neglectful or intentionally don’t take these safety precautions – perhaps trying to cut costs or save on time – then they may be responsible for people who get injured on the property.
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be facing extensive medical bills and missing time at work. It’s important to carefully consider all of your options to seek compensation.