Slip-and-Fall Accidents in Snow
If you slip and fall in snowy or icy conditions and injure yourself, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Compensation from a personal injury claim can help you pay for the costs associated with your injury, including medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and general pain and suffering.
Determining who is liable for your injury is tricky, as it can depend on a variety of different circumstances, such as your area and other factors.
Liability Instances in Snow-Related Slip and Fall
Homeowners are generally responsible for removing snow on their driveway, any walkways, and the sidewalk in front of your property.
If a visitor, such as a friend or even a mailman, slips and falls on the property due to the homeowner’s failure to remove the snow, the homeowner may be liable for their injuries.
If you slip and fall on snow and ice at a rental property, the liability may fall on either the property owner or the tenant. It depends on the lease agreement for the property.
Some lease agreements specify that a tenant must remove snow on the sidewalks within 24 hours, but the property owner is responsible for larger snow removal projects.
If your incident occurs on government-owned property, the government may be reliable for your injuries. Usually, though, the government is protected by immunity for compensating for your injuries.
If you feel as though you have a strong case, you can attempt to file a personal injury claim against the government organization that is responsible, but there will be a considerably larger amount of administrative work to go through.
As the passersby who slips and falls on a property due to snow and ice, you also may share a degree of liability in your accident. Passersby are expected to follow a reasonable degree of care while walking in snowy and icy conditions, and this may affect your personal injury claim.
Differing Laws by Area
As the weather differs greatly depending on your area of the country, what can reasonably be expected for natural accumulation of snow could also affect your personal injury claim.
For example, what you can expect for snow while weathering a winter in Maine will be markedly different than what you can expect in Virginia or North Carolina.
For example, Massachusetts followed a natural accumulation law up until recently that ruled that a property owner is not liable for injuries that occur due to a natural accumulation of snow and ice on their property. In a 2010 case, Papadopoulos v. Target Corporation, the courts ruled that a Massachusetts store was liable in a man’s injuries for their failure to remove snow.
The argument was that the Massachusetts population is used to the hazardous conditions of snow and ice that they will go out in the snow no matter what, so property owners should make a reasonable effort to clear their properties.
On the other hand, in Texas the climate is warmer and snow and ice is more rare. In this case, property owners can’t be expected to clear snow and ice as quickly in colder-climate states, since they are not as used to it.
In Scott and White Memorial Hospital v. Gary Fair and Linda Fair, a man slipped and fell on ice while leaving a Texas hospital and the courts ruled against his personal injury claim for this reason.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is important to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate your slip and fall case. A lawyer will know the laws for your specific area regarding snow and help you navigate your claim to maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.