It's that time of year again! Temperatures are cooler, the holiday season is upon us, and yes - we've already had snow fall and ice gather throughout Colorado! As we settle into winter, understanding the dangers of snow and ice, and who's liable if you slip and fall on snow or ice and suffer an injury, is important. If you're involved in a winter weather-related accident, our team at the office of Anderson Hemmat can help.
Snow and Ice: Top Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
While snow may look pretty, and icicles hanging from a rooftop may appear magical, snow and ice accumulation can be very dangerous. Icy walking areas can cause an individual to lose their footing and suffer a serious fall and snow that is not shoveled often turns to hard-to-remove ice that poses a hazard. Even those beautiful hanging icicles can be dangerous, as one falling from a rooftop can cause serious injury if it hits a person. Wintertime slip and falls can lead to head injuries, bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, back and spine injuries, and more.
A Property Owner's Duty to Remove Snow and Ice
While different cities are responsible for setting different ordinances regarding snow and ice removal—for example, in Denver, it is expected that residents and business owners will clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours after snowfall—the general rule for property owners is that they have duty to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition, and this rule extends beyond city boundaries. When a property owner knows of the presence of snow or/and ice, fails to remove snow and ice (and hanging icicles!) from their property within a reasonable amount of time (whether set by city ordinance or not), and a person is harmed on the property as a direct result, the property owner can be held liable for damages.
Get Out the Snow Shovel and Salt
If you're a property owner, the best thing that you can do to mitigate a slip and fall on your property is to remove snow and ice from your sidewalks and driveway immediately after a snowfall. In addition to physically removing snow, putting down a de-icing salt is strongly recommended.
As you walk around the city or your neighborhood, you can reduce your risk of a slip and fall on ice or snow by wearing proper footwear, keeping your hands and arms free (which help to balance you), and by watching where you're walking. If you see an icy patch, avoid it!
Call One of Our Colorado Law Office's if You've Been Harmed
Despite the duty to remove snow and ice, property owners often fail to do so, creating a hazard for all those who enter the property. If you suffer a slip and fall accident this winter, please don't hesitate to call our Denver personal injury lawyers at the office of Anderson Hemmat. We are experienced lawyers who care about the outcomes of our clients' cases. Reach us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.