Conditions Leading To Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents
One of the most common personal injury lawsuits is the slip and fall lawsuit. Many different dangerous conditions can cause this kind of premises liability injury claim.
The winter months can see children and pedestrians slip and fall on icy sidewalks or paths. Careless maintenance at a grocery store or supermarket can cause shoppers to slip and fall in an aisle or walkway. At the same time, slip and fall accidents are often relatively straightforward in terms of fault: the finger can be pointed at the owner or possessor of the building or land.
If you fall because the property owner failed to take care of their premises, they can be held legally responsible for your injuries. What follows are some examples of common conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents outdoors.
What also follows are the rules regarding a property owner's duties with respect to those conditions.
Ice or Snow Outside a Building
If conditions on the property cause an accumulation of ice or snow, the property owner may be liable for slip and fall accidents, such as when:
- Ice builds up on the roof, then melts and drips off because of a clogged drain, then refreezes on the ground
- Puddles in a parking lot freeze
- Melted ice or snow creates wet floors or slippery floors
Other weather conditions can result in premises liability claims for hazardous conditions. Bad weather can cause potholes, which create hazardous conditions ripe for outdoor slips and falls.
One disclaimer is that if a property owner/possessor elects to provide snow or ice removal, they must not do so negligently. That means the job must be done with reasonable care. Reasonable care can mean making an area safe enough to prevent fall cases or other serious injuries.
Stairways and Floors Inside a Building
Brain injuries and broken bones are common injuries that can occur when people lose their balance inside buildings. Common causes of slips and falls in these types of accidents include:
- Stairwells missing guardrails or handrails
- Uneven floors without warning signs
- Slippery surfaces that lack warning cones
An owner or tenant in a building has a duty of care to their guests and invitees. With reasonable care, safe conditions can prevent these kinds of personal injury claims. More often than not, however, a personal injury case occurs because the responsible party was negligent (careless) in taking safety measures to prevent foreseeable harm to likely victims.
Inadequate Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
Inadequate lighting may also lead to accidents involving:
- Slips and falls in parking lots
- Trips over curbing
- Falls on a step or stairs from a parking lot to a store
- Slips and falls due to holes, cracks, and uneven surfaces
A property owner/possessor may be liable if they knew or should have known of the poor lighting and failed to remedy the situation.
A parking lot owner must make the lot reasonably safe. This includes filling and patching cracks and holes, including potholes on old asphalt.
The surface of the parking lot may be uneven. If so, the owner must take steps to reduce the risk of fall injuries, such as by creating a ramp or a step with a warning sign. An uneven surface that cannot be safely traversed must either be timely repaired or made safe with adequate, visible warning signs.
Public sidewalks are the responsibility of municipalities. Municipalities must maintain their condition, warn of any dangers, and pay for any injuries that may result from their carelessness. Private sidewalks are the responsibility of the landowner and/or their tenant.
Public and private owners may be responsible for:
- Maintaining the condition of the sidewalk
- Providing warnings of hazards or dangers
- Financially covering any injuries resulting from the breach of those duties
Get an Initial Legal Review of Your Slip and Fall Claim
Slip and fall accidents often lead to considerable medical bills and time away from work. Insurance companies can be reluctant to pay out. A slip and fall attorney is a specific type of personal injury attorney that can help with these kinds of cases.
To recover for medical expenses and lost wages, injured individuals or their surviving loved ones can seek the help of a slip and fall lawyer to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
A great first step in pursuing a potential claim is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for an initial claim evaluation. Keep in mind that you must file personal injury cases within the time permitted by law. This time period is set by the state statute of limitations. Get legal advice by forming a client relationship with an accident attorney today.
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