More than one million Americans suffer a slip and fall injuries each Year more than 17,000 people die as a result of slip and fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common slip and fall injuries can be moderate or severe, including bruises, hip fractures, and head injuries. Slip and fall accidents are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) Apartments.org reported.
During the winter months, the risk of slip and fall accidents increases, reported Appalachian State University. With January and February being the snowiest months of the year, it is not unlikely that the number of slip and fall accidents may increase during this season. Snow storms often result in icy sidewalks, which can result in slip and fall accidents if left untreated.
Apartments suggests that 80% of snow-related slip and fall accidents occur in parking lots or sidewalks.
Property owners are required to do their part in prevent slip and fall accidents. Those who fail to take essential precautions,such as clearing snow within the required amount of time, may find themselves on the defense side of a premises liability lawsuit. Some states may also impose fines.
Snow removal laws vary from state-to-state, and within each state. The property management group Rentec outlines basic snow removal laws of all 50 states.
Examples of snow removal laws include:
Minnesota- Many cites in Minnesota, such as Montgomery, state that snow must be removed from public sidewalks within 24 hours.
New York- In addition to removing snow from sidewalks and walkways, New York requires that property owners near fire hydrants and bus stops also remove snow and ice surrounding those areas.
New Jersey- Single-family home owners in New Jersey have no obligation to remove snow from their property. Residents will only be liable for injuries if they make the conditions worse than the natural occurrence.
Pennsylvania- In Pennsylvania, property owners and residential tenants are required to removes now within a specific time frame after snowfall has ended. The time frame for individual cities and counties vary. Residents who fail to comply could not only be liable for premises liability lawsuits, but also penalty fines.
Illinois- Illinois residents and property owners are required to remove snow from sidewalks and public walkways. Anyone who removes snow is not liable for any slip and fall injuries that occur as a result of snow removal.
Some states such as Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina have no snow removal laws. Arkansas has no law, but property owners may be held liable for accidents that occur even if snow is cleared.
Slip and fall victims are urged to seek medical attention immediately. The Betty Clooney Center advises that some serious symptoms, such as those associated with brain injuries, may not manifest immediately. Failure to seek a medical evaluation could result in delayed treatment which could exacerbate the injury.
Individuals who sustain serious injury as a result of slipping and falling on ice may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses. Contact a premises liability lawyer to learn more.