How Weather Conditions Impact Slip-and-Fall Cases

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Posted on Sunday, June 30th, 2024 at 9:07 pm    

How Weather Conditions Impact Slip-And-Fall Cases

Were you injured in a slip and fall during poor weather? Did rain, snow, or ice play a role in your accident? You may still have a personal injury claim against the property owner even if weather contributed to your injuries.

Property owners must keep their properties free from hazards, including those caused by weather. Failure to do so could open them to lawsuits and liability for injuries sustained.

Weather-Related Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Poor weather leads to increased risks of slip-and-fall accidents in two primary ways. The first is rain, which creates puddles within buildings, and the second is snow and ice, which makes sidewalks and parking lots slippery.

Why do many businesses have mats on the floor at their entrances? Is it to keep the floors clean? Sort of. But the main reason is to prevent customers from tracking in water when it’s raining. Just because it’s raining outside doesn’t mean property owners can let puddles form inside.

Your lawyer may argue that if it was raining on the day you slipped and fell, the property owner should have known puddles might be a hazard. And in that case, they should have taken extra precautions to protect visitors from those hazardous puddles.

What about when it’s snowing out? Snow and ice accumulating on sidewalks and parking lots pose a hazard to the public. If a property owner doesn’t have the snow removed or put down salt, they could be liable for the injuries that result from people slipping and falling.

Property Owner Duties in Adverse Weather Conditions

Property owners should take several steps to protect the public during poor weather. For starters, if it’s raining, they should preemptively warn visitors of wet floors by putting a wet floor sign by the entrance. They should also clean up any indoor puddles as soon as they form or as soon as they learn about them.

In addition to fixing hazards as they appear, property owners should take steps to reduce the likelihood of dangerous conditions. If a building’s roof begins leaking, for example, the property owner should have it repaired instead of only worrying about it when it rains.

When it comes to snow and ice removal, there are specific laws property owners must adhere to. The Municipal Code of Chicago lays out the following things property owners must do:

  • Property owners must clear snow from walkways, leaving a path at least five feet wide.
  • Property owners must clear snow as soon as practicable between seven a.m. and seven p.m.
  • Property owners must clear snow that fell overnight no later than 10 a.m.
  • Property owners must put abrasive material on ice that they cannot remove to reduce slipping.

If a property owner fails to follow these ordinances in Chicago or similar ordinances elsewhere in Illinois, it may be hard for them to argue that your slip-and-fall injuries weren’t due to their negligence.

Proving Negligence in Weather-Related Falls

How Weather Conditions Impact Slip-And-Fall Cases 2

To prove the property owner’s negligence contributed to your injuries, you must show that they knew or should have known about the hazard and didn’t correct it. There are a few ways your attorney can prove this with evidence.

The first is to collect evidence showing that the hazard was persistent, meaning it was present long enough for the property owner to know about it. Security camera footage and eyewitness testimony may help bolster your case.

The second is to show that the hazard was recurring. A puddle that appears every time it rains or an icy patch that appears on a walkway near a gutter every time it snows are hazards that the property owner should expect.

The third is to show that the property owner knew about the hazard already but didn’t do anything about it or didn’t do enough. You may be able to get eyewitness testimony from others who previously reported the hazard to the owner or security camera footage showing the owner inspecting the hazard.

Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured after slipping and falling on someone else’s property, you can file a personal injury claim against them to recover compensation. Your medical bills, lost wages, and more all contribute to the value of your claim.

Contact Wallace Miller online or at (312) 261-6193 for a free consultation with one of our experienced premises liability attorneys. We’ll evaluate your case, explain your options, and help you understand the legal process.

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