With winter upon us and cold temperatures abound, the risk of slip and fall accidents caused by ice and snow increases immensely. In fact, in the workplace alone, there were more than 42,000 workers injured in accidents caused by ice, sleet, or snow across the country in a single year. Remember, this number does not include the many individuals who slipped and fell on ice outside of the workplace.
When a slip and fall accident occurs, the question of liability is raised. Indeed, if a person slips and falls and is injured, recovering damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering is a top priority. So who pays?
Property Owners' Duty to Maintain a Property in a Safe Condition
Property owners throughout the state of Colorado owe those who legally enter their properties a duty of care. This duty is to maintain a property in a reasonably safe condition, which includes remedying any known hazards within a reasonable amount of time. As this pertains to snow and ice, each city is responsible for setting its own rules requiring snow and ice removal. For example, in the city and county of Denver, property owners are responsible for clearing snow and ice from their sidewalks after snow has stopped falling. Businesses have four hours after snow has stopped falling to remove snow, and residential home owners have 24 hours. If snow and ice are not removed within this time frame, a fine can be assessed. What's more, if a person slips and falls on another's property because snow and ice has not been removed, the property owner can be held liable for the full extent of the injured party's economic and non-economic damages.
What About Snow and Ice on Private Property?
It makes sense that home and business owners are required to remove snow on sidewalks and other public areas. But what about snow and ice that is on private property, such as a private driveway or stairs leading up to a front porch and entrance way?
Regardless of whether or not the property is private, property owners still have a duty to maintain premises in a safe condition (however, the only duty owed to a trespasser is to refrain from willful or wanton harm). This means that if a property owner knows that the stairs leading up to their front door are icy and dangerous, and does not take action to remedy this (warning of ice, removing ice, etc.), they can be held liable should another party slip, fall, and injure themselves as a result.
Contact Anderson Hemmat to Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
Our lawyers hope that you are able to avoid a slip and fall accident this year by slowing down, wearing proper shoes, and using handrails when available. If you do slip, fall, and injure yourself on another party's property this winter, our experienced Colorado slip and fall attorneys will be ready to review your case for free, and provide you with the legal representation you deserve. Please contact our law offices today by sending us a message online.