Winter storms can lead to ice accumulation on steps, ramps, paths, sidewalks, and driveways. Property owners have a responsibility to the public to keep up their premises for the safety of those who visit or pass through. Yet slip-and-fall injuries are widespread during the winter months here in the Lehigh Valley. Though the severity of these injuries may vary, they can have devastating effects on the life and livelihood of victims who fall.
Three slip-and-fall scenarios
Here are three scenarios where a property owner can be held responsible for someone’s injuries on their property:
- The property owner knew that the area was icy and didn’t do anything to make it safer.
- Poor maintenance was the reason the area became icy. This could be because of redirected drainage, faulty plumbing repairs, cleaning/washing activities, or spilled liquids.
- The area of the property was icy for so long that the owner should have noticed and taken care of it.
Common defenses used by property owners
Beyond proving that a property owner had been negligent, a lawyer may also have to defend the injured person. Here are the accusations an injured person is likely to face in a personal injury case:
- The plaintiff was distracted or engaged in reckless activity that prevented him or her from noticing the icy hazard: This can include distractions like texting or being intoxicated. Types of reckless activity could consist of almost any action that the plaintiff did not have to perform in that area.
- The plaintiff was trespassing in the area in which the fall occurred: Unless the owner failed to put up “no hunting” or “no trespassing” signs along the property boundary, this could be used against your claim.
- The plaintiff did not see warnings or postings in the area: Were there warning signs visible, or did you not see the posted ones?
Victims can get help
Whatever the cause of the injury, it is in the victim’s best interests to contact a lawyer about a potential claim, which can help cover their medical bills, lost wages from days out of work, and chronic pain and distress from such an injury.