The groundhog may have predicted an early spring, but the fact of the matter is that it is still winter in Northern New Jersey, meaning there is always the possibility that we will see more ice and snow fall in the coming weeks. When snow and ice cover the streets and sidewalks, it is possible that a person could slip and fall while walking outdoors, leading to serious injuries and significant financial hardships. Thus, it is important to understand when negligent property owners can be held responsible for wintertime outdoor slip-and-fall accidents on their premises.
Are property owners responsible for clearing ice and snow from their sidewalks and parking lots?
It may be surprising to hear that in general, there isn’t an across-the-board law that requires property owners to shovel snow and remove ice from their sidewalks and parking lots, although sometimes local ordinances may impose such a duty on property owners. However, if the property conditions lead to an accumulation of ice or snow that is unnatural, then liability may be imposed.
For example, if there is snow on the roof of a business that melts and refreezes on the sidewalk due to snow-clogged gutters, this might be considered an unnatural buildup of ice or snow. Or, if a property owner’s parking lot has a slope and snow melts from the slope, resulting in icy patches created from the resulting puddles, this might also be considered an unnatural buildup of ice or snow.
It is also important to note that if the property owner takes it upon him or herself to shovel the snow or remove ice from his or her property, he or she must cannot be negligent in doing so.
Seek help for your wintertime slip-and-fall accident
In the end, if you slip-and-fall on an icy or snow-covered sidewalk or parking lot, determining liability can be complicated, and this post does not contain legal advice on this topic. New Jersey residents in such situations may want to work with personal injury attorneys who will fight on their behalf to obtain fair compensation. There are a wide range of injuries that a person could suffer in a slip and fall on a slick outdoor surface. These injuries can be costly, both physically and financially. Our firm’s website provides more information on wintertime slip-and-fall accidents that you may find useful.