By Tanya Phillips
Now that the holidays are behind us and we have enjoyed above average temperatures in December, it is now time to look ahead towards winter. With the winter weather we have experienced over the last few years, it is important to know your rights if you sustain injuries by slipping and falling on snow and ice. Each case is fact specific and must be evaluated on an individual basis. Below is some basic information regarding potential snow and ice claims.
If you are injured, you should seek medical attention. If the incident occurs at a business, you should timely report it to an employee or manager. In this Smartphone age, pictures of the accident scene would be helpful for the investigation.
Residential and commercial properties are viewed differently in the eyes of the law. Owners of residential properties usually have no duty to remove snow and ice or
even warn of the dangerous condition from the natural accumulation of ice and snow. However, if the owner does something to make the conditions worse, then they may be found liable. Additionally, if the dangerous condition is the result of runoff from a drainpipe, then you may be able to prove liability.
When dealing with a commercial property you must explore whether the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. In order to establish liability against the owner, an injured individual must prove that the landowner was at fault for the accident as follows:
- The owner caused the dangerous condition;
- The owner knew about the dangerous condition and did nothing to fix it;
- The condition was a recurring foreseeable event; or
- The owner should have known about the dangerous condition because a reasonable person would have taken the appropriate steps to fix the condition.
It is important to secure the address where you fell or the business name and information. In some instances there may be a property management company who oversees the maintenance of the property and is responsible for determining when snow and ice removal is necessary. You may also have a claim against the company who actually performs the snow and ice removal.
It is difficult to prove liability in a case if the accident occurs during the middle of a snow/ice storm. The problem usually arises for property owners when the snow and ice melts and then refreezes. It is certainly foreseeable that snow and ice will refreeze with this region’s changing winter temperatures.
There are strict time limits for filing a formal complaint for your claim in New Jersey. Personal injury claims must
be filed on or before the two year anniversary of the accident. If the property owner is a public entity, they must be placed on notice of the potential claim within ninety days of the accident.
This article is an overview and if you did sustain injuries as a result of slipping and falling on ice, you should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your potential claim. I would be more than happy to answer your questions and investigate your claim.
If you have any questions as a result of this article or some other legal concerns, I encourage you to visit our website at www.gaylordpopp.com, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-362-6193.