The winter season is upon us, although some days it may not feel like it has even arrived. Regardless of the fluctuating temperatures, the snow is not something we can avoid forever — and it’s crucial to be prepared for when it makes an appearance.
It is important to know that property owners and tenants (“occupiers”) have the responsibility to ensure that pedestrians are safe while situated on their property. While the walker has to their own obligation to be aware of where they are wandering, they should not have to be subjected to unexpected hazards.
Potentially dangerous situations could include:
- Slippery floors (spills, wet floors)
- Ice/snow that has not been cleared
- Missing handrails
- Inadequate lighting conditions
- Holes, gaps or cracks in flooring
- Sudden changes in elevation (unexpected bumps, curbs, potholes)
Any condition that makes a surface where are walking, potentially dangerous can result in a slip and fall accident. This could be caused by anything from a slippery indoor or outdoor floor, falling merchandise, poor lighting, or sharp edges.
Know your rights:
An occupier may be held liable if someone slips or trips and the individual or organization failed to ensure that the premises were reasonably free of hazards. You have the legal right to sue for pain and suffering if you happened to be injured because of these obstacles. You can also sue the property owner for medical expenses and any subsequent income loss that stem from negligence of another party.
Here’s some food for thought — if a person is unable to work because of a broken bone from falling because a store owner was negligent and didn't clear a patch of ice near their entrance, than that individual can sue the business for expenses incurred as a result of the accident, lost income and compensation for their suffering. The concept presents itself that everyone should be implementing the proper safety precautions to guarantee that their property is in the best condition possible. No matter the weather, it is the property owner's or occupier’s responsibility.
If you are a property owner or an occupier, the best thing to do is stay on top of the weather.
Here are the 5 simple ways to keep those passing or entering your property safe:
- Inspect your property for potential hazards
- Keep your walkway as clean and clear as possible
- Always put down sand or salt to help with traction
- Clear outdoor steps, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots of snow
- Ensure that puddles from melted snow are mopped up immediately accompanied by a sign to inform your customers.
Whether you are visiting a private residence, restaurant, government building, a retail shop, or any other type of building, pedestrians deserve to be safe. Contact our team of lawyers to discuss your next course of action after a slip and fall accident.