Personal Injury Lawyer
The country is still experiencing winter and the effects of cold weather, and will be for another two months or so. During that time, property owners will continue to need to perform the proper maintenance of their properties to make sure that cold weather conditions don’t erode the property’s integrity to nothing.
Maintaining the Property
But along with minding the property’s integrity, property owners should be wary of the integrity of another thing: The lives of the people who live in them lest the owner get caught up in a personal injury case. This is doubly true of the managers of apartment buildings or those who rent out properties. As winter weather continues to ravage the country, people will continue to expect at least two things: the ability to leave their driveways and clean, relatively snow-free paths to traverse.
The Dangers of Winter
A symbiotic relationship between a building and the person who inhabits it is key to maintaining a decent, general standard of living and the key to that is having the ability to enter and leave the place safely, otherwise it becomes somewhat of a prison which no one in their right mind would pay to live in. That said, the proper and constant maintenance of these paths is important to maintain. The vast majority of slip and fall accidents occur during the winter for a reason. It’s during the winter months that you have various slipping hazards, but perhaps the most dangerous is black ice. Black ice is ice that has thawed then refrozen, making it twice as slippery and also twice as difficult to discern.
Creating a Safe Environment
Like any publicly used space, it’s the duty of the property owner or representative to make sure that the space is safe to traverse and free of major obstacles and hazards. This includes snow and ice. But since property owners don’t have control over the power of nature, how can one possibly defend themselves should someone slip on naturally occurring snow and ice?
- Denying liability: This defense involves denying negligence by expressing that you acted reasonably. As previously mentioned, no one has control over the weather, so as long as one can prove that they put forth a reasonable effort to regularly clear the paths, with proof of record, then they can’t be seen as negligent when an honest effort to keep the paths safe was made.
- Claiming contributory negligence: While the rules regarding this are different from state to state, in some places, if a person somehow caused their own injury even in the smallest way, then they won’t be able to recover damages. Though this is more difficult to prove, examples could be expressing that a person was very aware of the path’s abnormally snowy condition, but chose to traverse it anyway. This, along with ignoring warnings to not travel down a path, can work against the injured party.
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