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Cooler Weather and Winter Slip and Falls: Who is Liable?

Posted on in Slip and Fall
Cooler Weather and Winter Slip and Falls: Who is Liable?

As the weather cools and fall and winter set in, there is a lot to look forward to; fall is beloved for its colors, and the winter holidays are often much anticipated. In addition to all of the benefits that the change in season brings, there are also a few risks associated with colder weather, including the increased risk of a slip and fall accident. Here is a look into what you need to know about cooler weather, winter slip and falls, and liability for any injuries that result.

Winter Slip and Falls: How Cooler Temperatures Increase the Risk of a Slip and Fall Accident

A slip and fall accident can occur at any time of the year. Spills of food and drink, debris in walkways, uneven walking surfaces, and broken stairs are not season-dependent. In the autumn and wintertime, however, adverse weather can significantly increase the number of dangerous walking areas. Rain and snow can make surfaces that would otherwise be safe to walk on slippery, and if temperatures drop below freezing, icy walking areas are a serious risk.

It is also not a stretch to surmise that when temperatures are cool and weather is less than ideal, property owners with dangerous conditions on their property are less inclined to go outside and remedy these conditions. This means that during the wintertime, hazards may go uncorrected, posing a risk to those who enter the property.

Who is Liable for a Fall or Winter Slip and Fall Accident?

Property owners in Illinois have a duty to ensure that their properties are maintained in a reasonably safe condition. This includes ensuring that snow and ice on a property are removed in a timely manner, and that any other unsafe conditions like slippery surfaces or depressions in walking areas are remedied, too. As it pertains to snow and ice specifically, most cities within the state maintain ordinances that require property owners to remove snow and ice within a specific number of hours after the accumulation of either.

If a person is on a property lawfully and suffers a slip and fall accident that leads to injuries, they can bring forth a claim against the property owner where the injury occurred if they can prove that the slip and fall was the direct result of a dangerous condition on the property, and that the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and that the property owner was negligent in failing to remedy the condition in a reasonable amount of time.

Protect Yourself as the Weather Cools

As the weather cools, our Chicago slip and fall lawyers at the office of Newland and Newland encourage you to wear proper footwear, keep your arms free in order to improve balance and catch yourself if you start to slip and fall, to walk distraction-free, and to use handrails when available. If you do suffer a serious slip and fall accident that leads to injury and you believe that someone else is to blame, please call our law firm or send us a message immediately for a free phone consultation. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.

(image courtesy of Korey Moore)

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