Snow/Ice Slip and Fall Lawsuits, And Ways to Avoid Them
We aren’t lawyers and don’t play one on TV, so please note this article is for information purposes only and shouldn’t be considered legal counsel.
Every year there are lawsuits filed against businesses by their employees, customers, patrons and tenants due to slips and falls due to snow and/or ice.
As a facility manager, the last thing you want to do is to create a dangerous situation for injury to occur. In addition to that, a slip and fall on your property can not only injure someone, but also break the bank!
Here are a few hefty lawsuits won from slip and fall accidents:
- a woman in NY was awarded $4 million for her injuries when she fell on a poorly shoveled walkway outside an apartment building
- a man fell on an icy sidewalk outside Super 8 Motel, and won $2 million
- a woman in Iowa received $1.2 million after falling on ice outside a Marriott hotel
Do we need to list any more? Poorly treated sidewalks during Winter can be a real issue for facility managers, and customers.
There are 3 slip and fall legal standards that vary based on jurisdiction (state/local etc) and since many of our readers span 3 states, we’ll again remind you that this isn’t legal advice and you can consult your legal professional. Read more about this here.
- The Natural Accumulation Rule says snow and ice are not created by the business, and therefore not defective property conditions.
- The Storm-in-Progress Rule says a business owner only needs to begin snow/ice removal after a reasonable time has passed from the end of the storm.
- The Reasonable Care Rule says a business owner must exercise reasonable care in addressing snow and ice on their property.
What are some things you can do to keep those on your property safe and minimize exposing your business to litigation?
- Does your business have the proper insurance
- If you hire an outside company as many do, what type of insurance do they have and what level of responsibility do they hold if an incident occurs.
- Do you have a documented snow and ice relief plan?