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Winter accidents: Who is responsible?

 Posted on December 23, 2020 in Personal Injury


Winter in Illinois can be brutal. And it's not just the freezing cold or the heavy snows, either. A big reason why winter is so treacherous is due to the weather-related hazards we must navigate every day.

Unfortunately, these hazards cause injuries more often than we'd like. In some cases, an accident is just that - an accident. In other cases, however, incidents like slipping, tripping and falling are the consequence of another party's negligence. So, who is to blame for winter accidents and injuries?

Understanding negligence

Getting injured on someone's property does not automatically make that property owner liable for damages. For there to be grounds for a legal claim, the property owner must be negligent, and that negligence must be the cause of a person's injuries.

Negligence refers to a person's failure to take reasonable care to prevent injury.

In the context of winter accidents on someone's property, this typically involves a property owner's failure to address conditions caused by ice, snow, rain or freezing temperatures. If these failures result in an injury-causing accident to someone legally permitted on the premises, the property owner could be responsible for damages.

Common accidents that can happen

Some of the more common winter-related hazards people should be aware of include:

  • Icy or snowy sidewalks that have not been cleared according to local ordinances
  • Large icicles hanging over entrances
  • Puddles of water in entryways without proper carpeting or signage
  • Poorly lit walkways or parking areas that make it difficult to see slippery areas
  • Tree limbs weighed down by snow and in danger of falling on a sidewalk or driveway

If a property owner knows about these or other hazards (or should know about them) and fails to take reasonable steps to address them, he or she could be responsible for any damages suffered in an accident.

Keep in mind, though, that there are numerous elements of a negligence claim. And if a specific accident does not fulfill every element, a legal claim will not be successful.

As such, it is crucial not to make assumptions about who is to blame after a winter-related accident on someone's property until you have all the facts. To discuss a specific case and your legal options after an accident on someone else's property, you can contact us at Kaiser Hafezi Law.

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