Liability for a Slip and Fall Injury | Snow and Ice Accidents

Ice and Snow fall-related injuries are generally non-fatal. However, slip and fall accidents can result in scrapes, bruises, and severe injuries like fractures, head injuries, and even death.

The World Health Organization statistics showed that falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury death worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the injury rate related to slips and falls increases significantly as the temperature declines.  We also compiled an up to date page about slip and fall statistics which you can find here.

Read on to know more about slip and fall injury, particularly during winter. If the fall accident happened as a result of a negligent act from property owners, victims may need to consult a slip and fall lawyer to file a personal injury claim.

Types of Injuries From Slip and Falls on Ice or Snow

Ice or snow slips can result in severe injuries. It can also result in financial distress to the injured party. Common injuries caused by slip and fall on ice or snow include:

  • Muscle sprains and ligament strains
  • Fractures
  • Broken bones, particularly on the hips and wrists
  • Back pain, such as spinal cord injuries
  • Head trauma, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries

Severe injuries are expensive. The CDC estimates a slip and fall accident to cost around $30,000 to $40,000. If the fall injury happened because of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

Leading Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

A slip happens when there is too little traction or friction between the footwear and the walking surface. A trip occurs when the foot strikes, hits, or collides with an object and causes you to lose balance and fall.

Slip and fall can happen because of the following:

  • Wet floors
  • Oily surface
  • Broken Sidewalks
  • Weather hazards (melted snow and clear snow)
  • Loose mats or rugs
  • Bulging or loose carpeting
  • Uneven flooring and walking surfaces
  • Parking Lots

Slip and fall accidents can also be caused by clutter in one’s way, obstructed view, inadequate lighting, broken staircases, and other reasons.

During winter, slip and fall accidents due to the accumulation of ice and snow are very common. If the walkways and driveways are not shoveled, it can lead to winter weather-related slips.

Do Property Owners Have a Duty to Prevent Avoidable Injuries?

The accumulation of ice and snow creates a risk of fall injury. It is the duty of home and business owners (property owners) to maintain their properties at all times and remove anything that can cause injury to pedestrians.

Indeed, property owners can prevent ice or snow slip and fall injuries from happening. For instance, they should clear the sidewalk and pavements in their premises to make them safe and convenient for pedestrians.

For over two decades, Michigan property owners were not liable if a victim suffered from a slip accident that happened within their premises. With a recent decision from the Supreme Court, those who were injured can sue for damages.

According to a July 28, 2023 Supreme Court decision, homeowners and businesses in Michigan have a duty to protect visitors from “open and obvious” hazards on their properties. Previously, property owners were not obligated to warn visitors about dangerous conditions on their property for as long as the hazards were “open and obvious” to the visitors. With this development, owners of properties can be held liable for their negligence if an individual is injured or killed in a slip and fall incident.

Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall Injury?

If you were hurt in a snow slip and fall accident caused by a negligent property owner, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. Proving the property owner’s negligence is a challenging task. Seek legal advice from your personal injury lawyer so you can recover compensation.

For instance, you need to prove that the property owner knew that the snow or melted ice on their property is a hazard to passersby. You must also show that despite knowing this dangerous condition, the owner did not take action to remove the hazards.

The laws pertaining to slips and falls on ice and snow can be complicated and confusing. Before you talk with the insurance company, seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney.

Recoverable Slip and Fall Accident Damages

Consider meeting with an attorney if you experienced winter weather-related slips. Michigan law allows you to seek compensation and recover from the negligent party through a lawsuit or an insurance claim. Among the damages that the victim is entitled to recover are the following:

  • Economic damages: These refer to medical bills (current and future) as well as lost wages for those who cannot work because of the accident. If wrongful death resulted due to the accident, surviving family members may also entitled to recover funeral costs and other burial expenses.
  • Non-economic damages: These include the pain and suffering of the victim because of the accident, such as mental anguish, diminished quality of life, and emotional injuries.

What to Do When You Get in a Fall Accident

No matter how careful you are, the saying that accident happens is true. When you get in a winter weather related slip and fall accident, here are the urgent things that you have to do:

  • Call for medical help as soon as you can. A fall injury can result in serious consequences and may require extensive and costly medical treatments. Further, if the slip and fall accident is caused by negligence, a medical report can be helpful in your personal injury claim.
  • Document the incident. Get the names and contact information of the persons who witnessed the accident. Take photos of the accident scene. If the accident is caused by slippery conditions or by a leaking gutter, for instance, a photograph of the area will be very helpful.
  • Report the accident to the authorities and the property owner.
  • Call a slip and fall lawyer to discuss your legal options.

How Pedestrians Can Avoid Slip and Falls on Ice or Snow

To have a legitimate claim for the injury caused by slip and falls on ice and snow, the victim must prove the negligence of the property owner. However, the victim must have also exercised some caution when walking near the premises where the fall occurred.

Here are some tips to avoid a snow slip:

  • Wear appropriate footwear when going outside.
  • Go out only when necessary.
  • Use handrails if available.
  • Pay attention when walking on snow and ice. Use shorter steps and avoid rushing.
  • Avoid carrying heavy objects, like packages and groceries, with bare hands.

Contact Experienced Slip and Fall on Ice or Snow Attorneys Today.

If you suffered injuries because of a slip and fall accident, you might have legal recourse against the liable party or owner of the property where the accident happened. A slip and fall lawyer can advise and help in proving the carelessness of the owner.

Contact a skilled slip and fall lawyer from The Clark Law Office so we can help you assess your situation after an accident. For more than 30 years, we have been helping our clients to get the best possible settlement in their personal injury cases. Call us today for a free consultation and initial case evaluation.

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