Unfortunately one can slip and fall anywhere, any time. It can happen in a supermarket, a store, someone’s home, a driveway, a parking lot or on the sidewalk, just to name a few. As the winter season approaches, and we encounter bad weather such as snow and ice, falls happen even more often. It is important to keep a few of the things below in mind.
After a storm, a property owner has a “reasonable” amount of time to clean/clear the snow and/or ice to make his or her property safe. That reasonable period of time is not always so clear, particularly if there is an ongoing ice or snow storm. The Courts recognize that there has to be a sufficient amount of time after the storm has stopped for property owners to be expected to clean/clear their property.
In a commercial property setting, like a store, the property owner’s level of care to the consumer is higher. The store property owner must follow safety precautions to ensure the safety of customers. A clean and safe environment not only means that the property has to be clean/clear of snow and ice, but also free of any other debris that can cause slip hazards.
What should you do if you slip or fall? It is very important that you do the following things in order to protect yourself and preserve information and possible evidence:
- Take pictures of where you fell, specifically of the defect/hazard that caused you to fall.
- Get names, phones numbers and addresses of any and all witnesses to your fall.
- Most importantly, report the incident to the property owner, manager or employee of the property. Once reported, make sure a written incident report is prepared simultaneously and ask for a copy. Get the full name of the preparer of the incident report.
- Note the weather conditions at the time of your fall, if it happened outside.
- Once you have documented the fall with the property owner, it is very important that you get immediate medical attention to address your injury. Make sure to clearly state to your medical provider what caused you to fall.
- Seek legal advice from a lawyer after a fall to ensure you are doing all you can to protect your rights to any claim you may have.
Ventura, Ribeiro & Smith specializes in personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents and workers’compensation, mass torts and complex pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. We are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of our clients.
As we approach the winter season, please stay safe.
If you need help navigating the legal system, and need a trusted partner, call us at 203-800-8000 or visit www.vrslaw.com. One of our attorneys will be glad to offer a helping hand.