One of the most common types of personal injury claims involve slip and fall cases in the winter months. Snow and ice accumulation can make walkways, parking lots, and roadways extremely slick and dangerous. However, the simply fact that someone has slipped on ice and suffered an injury in no way automatically entitles them to a recovery.
Slip and fall cases are some of the most difficult types of personal injury matters.
In a situation where someone is injured after slipping and falling on ice or snow, it must be proven that the party responsible for maintaining a safe premise had “notice.”
Notice means that they were aware that the snow or ice had accumulated on their property and presented a dangerous condition. Perhaps another person has already complained that the parking lot or walkway was slippery. If that can be proven, then the notice condition will have been met.
The slip and fall victim can also demonstrate “constructive notice.” Constructive notice means that the snow and ice were present for a period of time long enough to give the property owner or responsible party a reasonable opportunity to clear the walkway. Constructive notice may be found if there was a snowstorm 3 weeks earlier and the remaining snow or ice had not been cleared. However, if the snowstorm was in progress or recently ended constructive notice may not apply since it may not be reasonable to infer that the property owner did not have enough time to plow and/or salt the area where the injury occurred.
Because notice is often difficult or impossible to prove, some slip and fall cases are dismissed on defendant’s motion.
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident and would like a consultation regarding the facts in your case, we would be happy to speak to you.