What Happens If You Slip and Fall on Ice and Are Injured?

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by Jay Mascolo, Esq.

What to Do After a Slip and Fall on Ice

New Jersey is known for freezing cold winters with snow and ice. As a result, it’s important for property owners to keep the areas surrounding their buildings properly maintained, or people can slip and fall and sustain injuries. If someone gets hurt, they have the right to file an injury claim against the responsible party.

What Is the Obligation of a Property Owner?

Under premises liability law, property owners are responsible for ensuring that the area around and in their property that’s accessible to the public is kept free of hazards that could potentially lead to a slip and fall accident. This includes all outdoor areas that can accumulate snow and ice during the winter. Those areas should be kept clear of icy conditions that can lead to a person slipping and falling and suffering an injury. If a person suffers injuries, they can contact a personal injury attorney to initiate a lawsuit.

These natural weather conditions can lead to certain challenges for property owners. Homeowners are obligated to clear away snow and ice from the walkway leading to their property. Owners of businesses must do the same. If there are stairs or ramps along the property leading to an entrance or by an exit, those areas should also be cleared to ensure that people can come and go safely. However, in the case of business owners, this is only expected during business hours. For example, if a snowstorm occurs in the middle of the night while the business is closed and no one is expected on the property, the owner wouldn’t be expected to clear snow and ice away.

What Types of Injuries Can Occur From Slip and Fall Accidents on Ice?

Icy surfaces can easily lead to slip and fall accidents. These accidents can result in a variety of injuries. The most common bodily areas that can be affected are the wrists, ankles, shoulders, and lower back. Some of the most common of these injuries include the following:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Concussions
  • Paralysis

In the worst-case scenario, a person can die from injuries they sustain from a slip and fall on ice.

What Are the Different Categories of Visitors to a Property?

When a person suffers injuries after a slip and fall accident on a property, they can file a claim to recover compensation for their medical expenses and other damages. However, whether they can actually obtain compensation depends on which category they fall under in regard to being on the property. There are three categories of visitors in these cases.

Invitees are the most common visitors. These are people who are legally invited to the property for the purpose of conducting business. Invitees can be people who do business with someone on the property or customers seeking products or services. A customer does not have to actually buy anything while on the property.

Licensees are people who are legally allowed on the property as well. They are usually guests who have been invited to the property by someone else, such as the property owner or a tenant of an apartment building. Licensees are entitled to remain safe while visiting the property. As a result, the property owner has a legal obligation to warn licensees of any potential dangers on the property and keep snow and ice at bay to prevent a slip and fall accident.

Trespassers are individuals who have no legal purpose for being on the property. These people sometimes go onto the property for the wrong reasons, such as to commit a crime. As a result, the property owner doesn’t owe them a duty of care to ensure their safety. A property owner generally cannot be held liable for injuries that a trespasser sustains after slipping and falling due to icy conditions on their property.

What Damages Can You Recover?

Hiring a personal injury attorney is crucial if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall on ice on someone’s property. Your attorney can help prepare your claim so you can recover the compensation you deserve. You can normally recover the following damages:

  • Medical expenses and ongoing treatment
  • Lost wages and lost earning capacity
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

Suffering an injury after a slip and fall accident due to icy surfaces on a property can be serious. If you’re in New Jersey and want to file a personal injury claim, contact Rebmack Aronow & Mascolo, L.L.P. at your earliest convenience.

Contact Our Office

To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at (732) 247-3600, in Somerville at (908) 448-2560, or in Freehold at (732) 828-2234.

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