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Slip and Fall Injuries: Liability for Icy Sidewalks

Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, personal injury liability, Wisconsin wrongful death lawyerWisconsinites are used to dealing with the cold and the ice that come along with winter, but these conditions can still pose a danger to people. One of the most common dangers is from slick sidewalks covered in ice. In fact, worldwide there are hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from falls, according to statistics compiled by the World Health Organization, and they can be especially serious for older members of the population. Fortunately, the law provides people with the ability to recover for these sorts of slip and fall injuries under a doctrine known as premises liability. That doctrine holds people responsible for maintaining their property in safe condition for other people. However, there are a variety of factors at play that can affect the strength of someone's claim.

Premises Liability

Premises liability is a legal doctrine that requires landowners to keep their property in safe condition for other people who may enter onto it. The idea behind the law is that landowners must exercise reasonable care to ensure that their land is safe by removing hazards or warning people of their existence. This idea can get a bit complicated when snow and ice start to get involved.

The problem with snow and ice is that there are so many different people responsible for clearing up the danger. For instance, a slippery parking lot in a strip mall might be owned by the company that owns the mall, used for the benefit of the stores who rent from the mall, and cleaned by an independent snow plow company. This can mean that depending on the particular facts of the situation any of these entities may ultimately be responsible for injuries that result from a person's slipping in an icy parking lot. The city may even play a role if their snowplows resulted in the unnatural buildup of snow that injured someone. Additionally, the case may be further complicated by the existence of municipal ordinances that relate to when and where snow must be removed.

Factors at Play

There are also practical considerations that may affect the outcome of a slip and fall case on an icy sidewalk. One helpful factor is the availability of photographic evidence or witness testimony. Snow and ice are transient things, so later investigation of the site may not reveal the conditions at the time of the fall. Juries will have an easier time siding with the injured victim if they can see photographs of the area when the fall occurred and have the victim's story corroborated by other witnesses.

Icy sidewalks are an unavoidable fact of winter in Wisconsin, and legal liability surrounding them can be complex. If you have suffered an injury on one of these sidewalks, contact an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney today. Our firm is here to help you get the full, fair compensation that you deserve.

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