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Liability as a property owner: Winter months with ice and snow

When you get hurt outside, who is the responsible person? A slip-and-fall lawsuit can help you get the compensation you need after an injury, but you'll need to determine the liable party before that's able to be filed.

Consider the situation you were in when you fell. Was a sidewalk covered in ice directly in front of an entrance to a popular store? Did the staff know it was dangerous and fail to do anything to remove it? If so, you could argue that the staff was negligent, and because of that, caused your injury.

Normally, the law doesn't force property owners to remove snow and ice outside a building due to normal weather conditions. However, if the owner knows that he or she is expecting business, customers or guests, he or she should be making the walkway safe for you. If the owner of the property has included ice/snow removal in the lease or is required to do so for any reason, then he or she must do so and can be held liable for injuries that you've suffered.

Another issue you might have had was poor lighting in the area where you fell. If you trip over a curb, trip in a parking lot or fall on uneven surfaces that the owner knows about, then it's arguable that he or she should have fixed the lighting to allow you to see the potential dangers. The owner should be keeping his or her premises reasonably safe for those who are on it, and if you feel that it wasn't, your attorney can help you look into a liability claim to be compensated.

Source: FindLaw, "Conditions Leading to Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents," accessed Dec. 10, 2015

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