Why Slips and Falls Increase During Winter

By Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari on December 28, 2016

rain-pedestrians-liabilitySlip and fall accidents are a leading cause of bodily injury in the United States, causing people to seek medical treatment for a variety of health conditions. Although these types of accidents occur throughout the year, the rate of slip and fall accidents increases quite a bit during the winter season. As expected, harsh weather conditions are a contributing factor to the rise in slip and falls during the winter months, especially in the presence of a property or business owner’s negligence.

Those who reside in and around Chatham, NJ anticipate Fall and Winter climates which produce rain, snow and ice. Slippery sidewalks, parking lots, and indoor floors from wet foot traffic are so common, that property and business owners know that these hazardous conditions are foreseeable. That foreseeability makes it incumbent upon a property or business owner to prevent those hazards from causing harm to people who may come to be on their property or in their place of business. In fact, municipal and state codes address the responsibilities of landlords, townships, cities and business owners. In addition, commercial and other leases often define the responsibilities of landlords, tenants and/or business owner maintenance of a property during inclement weather. When severe injuries occur because the appropriate steps weren’t taken to make a property safe, it would be well-advised to call a New Jersey personal injury attorney for help.

Liability For Failure to Remove Snow or Ice

Property and business owners as well as municipalities are obligated to keep their homes, businesses and public access areas in a state that isn’t conducive to slip and fall accidents. In the winter, reasonable property maintenance includes the removal of snow and ice from sidewalks, driveways, and walkways, as well as water from indoor floor surfaces. Remediation of these hazards must be done within a reasonable period of time from when they could or should be recognized. Those who fail to ensure the timely removal of these hazards may be held accountable under premises liability laws for slip and fall accidents and resulting injuries.

Measures Property and/or Business Owners Should Take to Prevent Harm to Others

There are several things property and business owners should do in a timely manner during inclement weather to ensure the safety of patrons and pedestrians, including but not limited to:

  • Frequently inspect areas where patrons and other pedestrians may traverse
  • Put down salt or sand as required to melt ice and create a more stable pedestrian walkway
  • Place signs to warn of hazards
  • Pay attention to current weather and forecasts in an effort to anticipate the likelihood of imminent hazardous conditions; and proceed accordingly
  • Clear walkways and stairs of snow and ice in a timely manner, and repeatedly if required
  • Ensure gutters and downspouts drain water away from public/pedestrian access areas… to prevent accumulation of water which may freeze
  • Use “mats” in entryways to remove excess water from shoes and prevent falls in those typically wet areas

If you or a loved one have suffered significant injuries in a slip and fall accident that could have been prevented by the timely and reasonable actions of a property owner, business owner or municipality, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and associated economic losses. Our New Jersey slip and fall attorneys at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari have decades of experience securing monetary compensation for those injured in slip and fall incidents. Contact us at (973) 635-5400 for an assessment of your potential claim.

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Posted in: Premises Liability

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