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Understanding your rights after slipping on an icy sidewalk

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Premises Liability |

Winters in Ohio tend to feature cold temperatures, ice and snow. Ultimately, this can create hazardous conditions on roadways and sidewalks, and if you’re not careful, you could slip and hurt yourself. In the event that you’re hurt while walking on a sidewalk, you might be entitled to compensation from the person or entity responsible for maintaining it.

Understanding negligence

Generally speaking, the property owner of the sidewalk is responsible for keeping it clear of ice, snow or anything else that could cause a slip, trip or fall hazard. For example, if a homeowner knew freezing rain was in the forecast, that person should know to put a deicer down. If a shop owner was responsible for keeping a sidewalk clear, that person might be liable for damages if this isn’t done. At a minimum, whoever owns the property where you were hurt should have put up a sign indicating the potentially hazardous condition.

You have a duty of care

You have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to avoid falling while walking on a slippery sidewalk. For instance, you may be deemed partially liable for your injuries if you were wearing sandals at the time of a slip or fall. This is because you should know that this type of footwear offers limited traction.

Other factors to consider

A defendant in a premises liability case may claim that there wasn’t enough time to take action. For instance, if a sidewalk is icy because the temperature dropped 20 degrees in a matter of minutes, there may be little the defendant could have done to mitigate a dangerous situation. The same might be true if the sidewalk was slippery because it snowed more than expected and it was difficult to keep up.

You can use photos, videos or witness statements to prove that the defendant was negligent in allowing your injuries to occur. Medical bills and other documents may be used to prove that you incurred a financial loss, which is another element to establishing that the defendant acted in a negligent manner.