What You Need to Know About Black Ice Slip and Fall Accidents

Ice and snow are common to Michigan residents. While they can be nice to look at, these elements also increase the risk of serious injury. Since black ice is barely visible, it can lead to several accidents during winter.

What Is Black Ice, and Why Do They Cause Slip and Fall Accidents?

Black ice is an incredibly thin layer of smooth ice. It forms when snow isn’t thoroughly cleared and measures weren’t taken to stop black ice from forming. It’s called “black” because of its appearance upon quick inspection.

The ice remains stable even when the temperature goes beyond the freezing point. Slip and fall accidents cases are common because black ice is hard to detect. Some even call it invisible ice because of the way it blends with the dark pavement.

Pedestrians and motorists remain oblivious to these dangerous conditions. They pass through the black ice without taking any precautions to prevent injury. This leads to a high rate of black ice accidents. If you’re hurt from a slip and fall accident due to black ice, contact a lawyer immediately.

Common Injuries Sustained From a Black Ice Slip and Fall

A black ice fall injury may vary from minor to severe and could be irreversible. This depends on the force and angle at which the victim hits the ice, the manner of landing, and the victim’s body built. Examples include:

  • Fracture: this occurs when a bone hits the hard concrete as you try to break your fall on black ice
  • Sprain or torn ligament: the severity depends on how you fall on black ice.
  • Neck and back injuries: these occur when you fall backward or on your head.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: this happens when you hit your head on black ice, leading to concussion or permanent brain damage.

Where Can Black Ice Be Found?

Black ice is especially dangerous because it is hard to see and it tends to be the most slippery condition possible.  Even if you are aware that the black ice there, it can still be difficult to not slip, trip, or fall.  Here are some of the most common places where black ice can be found:

Ice Accidents and Liability Claims

Filing a premises liability claim requires proving that the owner became negligent. Four key elements need to be satisfied to get a fair settlement:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  • The defendant didn’t uphold that duty of care. He acted irresponsibly under the circumstances.
  • You suffered an injury.
  • You wouldn’t get harmed if it weren’t for the defendant’s actions.

In most slip and fall lawsuits, an insurance company can pay your claim. However, there may be instances where the person at fault doesn’t have insurance. If you got injured because of a teenage employee’s negligence, you may file a claim against the business owner.

What Are the Property Owner’s Legal Responsibilities Under Premises Liability Law?

It is the property owner’s duty to ensure that his premises don’t cause harm to anyone. He must conduct an adequate inspection of the property for any hazards, including black ice. He must give financial compensation if the clear ice on his property is the direct and proximate cause of your injury.

In Michigan, the old law for slip and fall cases is quite favorable to the owner. The owner is free from liability if he was able to exercise reasonable care to follow what is required by law. Furthermore, if there’s an indication that black ice may exist in the area, it’s deemed “open and obvious” and there to be seen. Thus, the property owner owes no duty and cannot be held responsible.  Luckily, this open and obvious rule has been abolished and property owners are now responsible for unsafe conditions.

Possible Defendants in a Clear Ice Lawsuit

Parties that may become liable in a black ice accident case may include:

  • Landlords of buildings or residential properties (private homeowners usually don’t have a duty to remove ice and snow right away)
  • Commercial property owner
  • Business owners renting facilities from a property owner
  • Companies providing maintenance or snow and ice removal services
  • Snow plow companies

Damages for Fall on Black Ice Injuries

The amount of compensation will be vary depending on the severity of your injury. There are two types of damages available for black ice cases.

First, economic damages, such as:

  • Past medical bills for medical treatment
  • Medical treatment that may be required in the long run
  • Past lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential because of inability to work or reduction of pay
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Reimbursement to healthcare insurance companies, such as Medicaid and Medicare for liens they assert on the slip and fall case

Second, non-economic damages such as:

  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Loss of society
  • Emotional distress
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Wrongful death
  • Scarring or permanent disfigurement

How Can Black Ice Accident Victims Prove the Property Owner’s Negligence?

The property owner can be held financially responsible for the dangerous black ice on the premises. However, it must be proven that he owned a duty to the public due to the following reasons:

  • The property owner failed to put up measures to ensure safety.
  • He was aware of the hazard and had sufficient time to resolve the issue.

Once negligence is established, you must prove that the owner’s negligence is what caused the injury to happen. This is called causation. You will show that if it weren’t for the hazardous black ice, you wouldn’t suffer from injuries.

  • If possible, take pictures or videos of the black ice or anything on the property that’s relevant to the accident.
  • If anyone witnessed your accident or saw another person slip and fall on the same ice, get their contact details. They may be requested to provide a witness statement if necessary.
  • Inform the property owner about the dangerous condition so it won’t happen again. Check in after a few days to see if any other accidents occurred. This may prove that the owner deliberately didn’t do anything to prevent the accident from happening again.

We Fight for Fair Compensation for Black Ice Accident Victims in Michigan.

Several black ice slip and fall accident cases in Michigan are settled before the trial. Unfortunately, insurance companies will go to great lengths to have the case dismissed or pay the smallest amount possible.

This is why it’s highly recommended to hire a Michigan slip and fall lawyer as soon as the injury occurs. Property owners will give a lot of reasons to downplay the case or get the case dismissed immediately.

Our team at The Clark Law Office understands that time is of the essence in this type of case. We move quickly to gather evidence, hire professionals, and do everything necessary to ensure success. Schedule a free case review or free consultation to know how we can help.

5/5 - (3 votes)