As the temperature drops during the winter, Wisconsin residents may encounter a variety of safety issues. Snow and ice that accumulates on sidewalks or other walking surfaces may lead to slip and fall accidents that result in multiple types of serious injuries, such as broken bones or traumatic brain injuries. Victims of these types of accidents may experience a number of difficulties, including costly medical treatment and loss of income if they are unable to work while they are recovering. In these situations, victims will want to determine whether they can take legal action to recover financial compensation from the owner of the property where their injury occurred.
Liability for Slip and Fall Injuries Caused by Snow or Ice
A person’s ability to pursue compensation for a slip and fall accident will usually depend on whether the injury occurred at an establishment that was open to the public, a private residence, or a public area such as a sidewalk. Private property owners are required to take steps to protect the safety of visitors, including addressing slipping hazards on walkways, porches, patios, or decks. If a visitor to a person’s home slips on snow or ice that was not properly cleared, they may be covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, or they may be able to take legal action to recover compensation for injuries that occurred because of the property owner’s negligence.
Owners of stores, restaurants, or other establishments are also required to protect the safety of customers or other visitors. Areas where people walk, such as parking lots, should be cleared of snow and ice. A property owner or a tenant who leases commercial property may be liable for slip and fall injuries that occur because walking surfaces were not reasonably safe.
Premises liability cases can become more complicated if a person is injured while walking on a public sidewalk. Municipal ordinances may require property owners to clear snow and ice from sidewalks next to their property and use sand or salt to provide the proper traction. If injuries took place due to the natural accumulation of snow or ice, a property owner generally cannot be held liable, although a city or municipality may be liable if the conditions existed for at least three weeks. However, a property owner may be held liable for injuries that occur because of unnatural accumulations of snow or ice, such as those caused by water leaks.
Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys
At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our attorneys understand the legal issues that affect slip and fall injuries during the winter. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding an injury, identify the liable parties, gather evidence of negligence, and help victims take legal action to recover compensation. Contact our Milwaukee premises liability lawyers today at 414-271-1440 to learn how we can help you hold a negligent property owner liable for your injuries and damages.