While the United States may be mostly thawing out from its inundation by wintry weather, winter may not be through having its way with us yet here in Kentucky. We could have weeks of nasty weather up ahead -- and a lot of slip-and-fall accidents on icy walks.
Who is responsible for weather-related falls?
One thing to determine in those types of accident claims is who owns the property where the accident took place. For instance, if you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk in front of a business, it's likely that the business owner is liable for your injuries for not keeping the area debris-free.
But sometimes the city might be the party that is responsible for keeping this area clear from hazards. Other instances might involve individually owned properties where icy conditions on a set of steps led to a fall with injuries. In complex cases, there might even be multiple defendants.
Then, too, it's always important to determine what caused the person to slip and fall in the first place. A person suffering from reduced mobility and/or balance problems could take a dangerous tumble and get seriously hurt. But would that be the property owner's fault?
In some cases, it might not be. After all, if the property owner committed no violations or safety breaches and someone's physical condition causes them to be unsteady on their feet and fall, it is not necessarily the property owner's fault.
How long does someone have to fix a safety issue caused by the weather?
The duty to clear the sidewalk or path of all hazards has to be reasonably enforced. For instance, if it is during the height of a snowstorm when someone falls and is injured, it might be successfully argued that the property owner did not have sufficient time to resolve the safety hazard -- especially if snow was still falling!
It's not just intent, however, that is involved in these cases. A property owner whose clean up efforts only worsen the situation can remain liable for injuries caused by the conditions of the premises. Improperly cleared snow, for example, could leave "black ice" on the ground that makes a dangerous situation even worse.
Were you hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on someone's property? You might be able to pursue financial compensation for any losses.