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Conditions Leading to Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents

One of the most common personal injury lawsuits is the slip and fall lawsuit. For one thing, many different conditions can cause them. The winter months can see children and pedestrians slip and fall on icy sidewalks or paths. Careless maintenance at a supermarket can cause shoppers to slip and fall in an aisle. At the same time, slip and fall accidents are often relatively straightforward in terms of culpability: the finger can be pointed at the owner or possessor of the building or land.

When the area where you slipped or tripped and fell is part of the property owner or the property possessor's premises, and they failed to take appropriate precautions or correct a problem that led to the accident, the owner or possessor can usually be held legally responsible for your injuries. What follows are some examples of common conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents outdoors, and the rules regarding a property owner's duties with respect to those conditions.

Ice or Snow Outside a Building

Generally, the law doesn't require a property owner/possessor to remove ice or snow that accumulates outside his or her building as a result of the weather. However, if conditions on the property cause an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow, the property owner may be liable for slip and fall accidents, such as when:

  • Ice accumulates on the roof, then melts and drips off because of a clogged drain, then refreezes on the ground;
  • The sloping surface of a parking lot causes melting ice to form puddles, and then refreeze into ice patches.

In addition, if a property owner/possessor elects to provide snow or ice removal, they must not do so negligently.

Inadequate Outdoor Lighting

Inadequate lighting may also lead to accidents involving slip and falls in parking lots, trips over curbing, falls on a step or stairs from a parking lot to a store, and trips 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.

Parking Lots

A parking lot owner is responsible for maintaining the parking lot in a manner such that it is reasonably safe for people using it. This includes filling and patching cracks and holes. Additionally, differences in height from one section of the lot to another should be gradual rather than abrupt to prevent tripping or slip and fall injuries.


If a sidewalk is a public sidewalk, then the liability (or responsibility) is on the municipality or city for maintaining the condition of the sidewalk, providing warnings of hazards or dangers, and financially covering any injuries resulting from the breach of those duties. If the sidewalk is on private property, then the landowner or party responsible for maintaining those premises (such as a commercial tenant) is liable.

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. In order to receive compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, injured individuals often choose to file a lawsuit against the person or company responsible for the conditions that caused the accident.

A great first step in pursuing a potential claim is to contact an experienced lawyer for a free initial claim evaluation.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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