So, Who is Responsible?
If you injure yourself by slipping on snow and ice outside of a store, and the store was closed, it may be difficult to determine who was liable for your injuries.
Determining liability is important when filing a personal injury claim, which can help you pay for any medical bills and living expenses that are related to your injuries.
Since cases such as these have no black and white answer, but instead depend on a variety of factors, the liable party and outcome of your claim can vary greatly.
Before determining who is liable for your injuries when the location of your accident is closed, it may be helpful to determine who would be liable for normal instances.
For example, it could be the responsibility of the property owner to clear snow, or it could be the responsibility of the owner’s tenant store, depending on what is agreed upon in the rental agreement.
If you were injured at a government-owned property, the rules are also different. The government could be liable for your injuries, but they could potentially be protected by immunity, preventing you from suing for your injuries.
If you have a strong case, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim against the government, but it will be considerably more difficult and require a large amount of paperwork.
Where in the country you slipped and fell will also have an effect on your personal injury claim. Some states have natural accumulation laws, which state that people should expect a natural amount of snow and ice accumulation at certain times of the year and that if they don’t pay attention to this accumulation, they are liable for their injuries, not the owner of the property.
This is more common in ares that expect severe winter weather, such as New England and other states that regularly have cold weather.
Reasonable Care and Time of Incident
Both the passersby and the property owner must exercise reasonable care in snow and ice instances. Passersby, especially in the natural accumulation states mentioned above, are expected to exercise reasonable care when navigating snowy and icy streets.
On the other hand, the owner or manager of a property is responsible for clearing snow and ice in a reasonable amount of time. This also depends on the area of the country.
The time of the incident also has an effect on the outcome of your personal injury claim. Let’s say you slipped and fell on ice outside of a coffee shop in an area that is used to experiencing some snow in the winter. If this happened at 7:00 a.m., and the shop is closed but opens at 7:30 a.m., then the property owner may be liable, as they should have been working to clear the snow at a time when customers could reasonably be expected to arrive.
If the snow occurred overnight, and you slipped and fell outside of the coffee shop at 3:00 a.m., the property owner would probably not be expected by the court to have cleared the snow at that time, as their business would not be opening for over three hours.
Hire a Lawyer
Again, the details of your slip and fall accident, such as the time and location, will all play a role in the outcome of your case. It is important that you document the details of the incident and consider hiring a lawyer to help you negotiate your claim and maximize your chances of success.
A personal injury lawyer who specializes in these types of claims can help you gather the necessary details and medical evidence needed for your claim and maximize your chances of a successful settlement.