Winter is here, and that means cold, snowy, and icy walkways. These conditions come with numerous potential risks, such as slipping and falling on ice. Slipping on ice can be scary, especially when it leads to serious injuries and equally severe medical bills that can potentially cost you wages. In this blog, we will discuss who is responsible for the accident, what to do if you slip and fall on ice, and how to reduce the risk of slipping on ice.
Who is Liable for a Slip and Fall on Ice?
When you slip and fall on ice, there are a few parties who may be liable.
In many cases, the property owner is the one who is responsible. If you fell on a walkway that had been poorly maintained, then the premise owner is accountable. Premise liability refers to the legal responsibility of owners to ensure their property is free from hazardous conditions. This includes homeowners, landlords, business owners, and public institutions.
A contractor that works for a business is another example of a party that may be responsible for a slip and fall on ice. For example, if a business owner hires a contractor to maintain sidewalks in front of a store and the contractor fails to do so, may be held liable for your injuries.
Now let’s say you slip and fall on public property, such as a city sidewalk or a parking lot of a school that was neglected, then you may seek compensation from that government entity.
What to Do if You Slip and Fall on Ice
The first thing you should do if you slip and fall on ice is to notify the property owner. It’s their responsibility to make sure the property is safe. If it’s public property, notify the government agency in charge. In fact, the Indiana Tort Claims Act requires that a formal written notification be provided to the responsible state entity within 180 days of the incident, or the claim will be lost. It is also suggested that you file an incident report and document:
- date and time of the accident
- location it occurred
- cause of the accident
- if there were any warning signs
- the weather conditions
- what happened after you fell
- if any injuries were sustained
Finally, you should talk to an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer.
Tips to Avoid Slips and Falls this Winter
There are several steps you can take that are helpful to avoid a slip and fall incident.
Wearing Proper Footwear
Try to avoid heels and shoes with smooth flat soles, as these types of shoes have reduced grip. Slip-resistant footwear like snow boots or hiking boots has grip and traction on the sole of the footwear that can help avoid slips and falls on ice.
Cautious When Walking
Make sure to be alert and pay attention to roadways or walkways. Try to check your surroundings to see if there is ice on the walkway and be prepared. Walk on designated paths and always be mindful of where you are walking.
Watch out for Black Ice
Be careful of black ice, which is especially dangerous because it can be hard to see. Walk slowly, test the pavement with your foot to see if it is safe, and try to avoid icy areas if possible.
It can be tempting to walk fast when you are late for work or a meeting. However, it is important to take your time. Rushing will mean that you are more likely to slip. Make sure to take short, shuffling steps and stay flat-footed as much as possible.
Entering or Exiting a Vehicle
Try to park in a clear area. Be particularly careful when entering or exiting a vehicle, because it is possible for you to park next to an icy patch, and you will not realize it is icy until you exit the vehicle. It can be helpful to hold on to your vehicle to help support yourself from falling.
Foley and Small–Your Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers
If you or a family member has been injured because of slipping and falling due to a party failing to clear the snow and ice, get in touch with our team. Let the attorneys and staff of Foley & Small use their experience and expertise to help you and your family.