A 2015 report from the Center for Disease Control shows that over 9 million people suffered a slip and fall related injury from 2000-2015. If you’ve fallen due to ice and snow or other winter weather conditions, you know how sudden, painful, and frustrating these instances are. They’re out of your control. One moment you’re loading groceries into the car, the next you’re flat on your back. But who can you call on to hold them responsible for the unsafe conditions? Here’s a summary of important information about who is most often responsible for keeping areas like sidewalks, parking lots, and parking garages free of winter hazards.
Have you been injured while on someone else’s property? Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has an experienced team of Indianapolis premises liability attorneys who can help you explore your options.
Clearing Ice and Snow From Private Parking Lots or Parking Garages
Preventing slipping hazards in a parking lot or garage is the responsibility of the property owner or anyone leasing the space. This doesn’t just mean clearing lots and garages once; owners must maintain safety even if the surfaces refreeze. A retailer or other business must always act with reasonable care for the public, meaning if the 6 o’clock news forecasts freezing rain and ice for the next morning, they must act to protect pedestrians and those using their parking lot. Even if property owners hire another company to remove snow and ice from walkways and pavement, they need to ensure they’re in contact with their service providers to maintain safety for pedestrians, and that they make sure the work was done properly.
Clearing Ice and Snow From the Sidewalk
The city and private property owners must also use reasonable care on sidewalks. In Indianapolis, homeowners are fully liable for any falls that occur because someone slips on the sidewalk in front of their house. The law states if weather stops before 7 PM, homeowners have until 9 AM the next day to remove the hazard. If the weather continues until 9 AM, they’ll have until 7 PM to clear their sidewalks. Full maintenance of sidewalks also means salting thoroughly to prevent refreezing. Indiana is well known for its quickly-changing temperatures, so Hoosiers need to be especially aware of the risks of refreezing. If the ice melts, then becomes ice again, the hazard needs to be taken care of again.
Though the city has more shields in place to protect itself from lawsuits, it is still expected to act with reasonable care. That means not only clearing snow and ice but taking care to do so again should the water refreeze.
Indianapolis’ winter weather is often intense, and it’s important for all the city’s property owners to know these responsibilities. When 800,000 people are hospitalized every year from a slip and fall accident, it’s crucial for property owners to protect those who might cross or use their property. If you’ve been the victim of a slip and fall due to weather or unsafe pavement, the lawyers at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell are here to help. We understand the world of premises liability and personal injury law and will work tirelessly to earn you the peace of mind you deserve. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. Contact us if you suffered a slip and fall accident in Indianapolis and need representation.