The recent thaw may have been a welcome respite from another harsh winter, but it also serves as a reminder of the dangers that snow and ice present at this time of the year.
The cycles of snowfall, freezing, thawing and refreezing result in dangerous conditions on our sidewalks, parking lots, steps and other outdoor surfaces.
“Who is responsible for maintaining these surfaces?”
In general, property owners – homeowners and businesses alike – are responsible for maintaining safe conditions on their property and providing a warning when dangerous conditions exist. Just as you would expect a grocery store to put out a “wet floor” sign on the site of a spill, property owners are expected to shovel snow and make a good faith effort to keep sidewalks and other surfaces free of ice.
Wisconsin has a specific statute – The Safe Place Statute – that requires most public buildings to be “reasonably safe and free from hazards”
Tips for Avoiding Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Slips and falls can happen at any time of the year, but our winter weather makes this time of year particularly dangerous. Keep an eye out for potential hazards such as patches of ice, the areas under eaves and downspouts, and packed snow. It is also a good idea to take shorter steps and walk slowly when conditions are poor or you are uncertain about your footing.
If you do suffer an injury as a result of a slip or fall, a premises liability attorney can help you get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.