Slip and fall accidents are a significant component of personal injury law, and many of these cases involve snow and ice, and the outdoor elements. So how do lawyers assess these cases, and what types of things have an impact on legal outcomes? Check out these frequent indicators in a slip and fall personal injury case that centers around slick and treacherous ice in public places.
Types of Ice Buildup
One interesting part of a slip and fall case is evaluating what was actually on the ground at the time of entry. Generally, those with responsibility for public areas are supposed to mitigate the public safety dangers of icy surfaces by scattering salt or ice melt solutions. One influencing factor in these types of personal injury cases can involve what type of ice was present, whether there was an area of less visible 'black ice' or whether there were significant ice ridges built up on the surface. Basically, the black ice can be seen in court as something more reasonably "off the radar" of whoever was supposed to provide safety, where the visual ice ridges are a clear and present threat that may produce more liability.
'Open and Obvious' Ice Fall Issues
Some states also have rules on what's considered "open and obvious" in terms of public safety threats -- for example, where the court could rule that reasonable people should expect a slick or icy surface in a certain place. This also leads into the idea of where direct responsibility applies. For example, there will often be a specific boundary where business liability stops, whether that's the edge of a parking lot or some other designation. In general, as in this fact sheet from FindLegal, premises liability extends to things that businesses should address when they happen "on their property" and property lines are often demarcating lines.
Visiting Status of the Injured Party
Another aspect of one of these cases is the context of the slip and fall injury. Was the person invited onto the property? Did the injury happen to a customer during business hours? Where the person was using the public space in the use for which it was intended, there's much more of a burden of responsibility on business owners or administrators.
Length of Time
Another big issue is how long the safety hazard was allowed to exist in the area. Many municipalities have guidelines for clearing snow and ice, and other rules apply. For example, it may be harder to bring a case where an injury happened in the direct aftermath of a significant storm, because persons involved in administration may have had a hard time clearing the area in a given time frame. But where hazardous conditions existed for a series of weeks or months, a personal injury case may be easier to bring.
All of these factors can make a difference in what happens when a personal injury attorney like one from The Gil Law Firm brings a case on behalf of his or her client.Share
11 February 2015
Although I am far from perfect, I have focused on abiding by the local laws for the vast majority of my life. Unfortunately, about five years ago, I realized that I was being accused of a crime that I didn't commit. I thought about letting the trial run its course, but then I realized that fighting would be important to ensure my future. I teamed up with a great lawyer, and things became much easier overnight. My legal counsel told me what to do and what to avoid, and he was able to prove the facts in a court of law. This blog is all about choosing to fight charges.