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Icy Walkways and Premises Liability Cases

Now that the winter cold is settling in, its time to talk about slippery walkways. We handle a large amount of slip and fall premises liability cases; in fact, our firm has received the largest parking lot slip and fall on snow and ice verdict in Jackson County, Missouri in the past decade.

Here are a few things about icy walkways I’d like to pass on to help you navigate this winter season.

1. The insurance company may try to escape liability by claiming the ice on the walkway was a natural accumulation.

Oftentimes when people slip on an icy sidewalk and make a claim with the owner’s insurance company, the insurance company tries to claim the ice on the walkway was a natural accumulation and therefore they are not responsible for the fall.

Although this may shield them from fault if it was currently snowing when the slip happened, it won’t if the landowner had enough time to clear the snow or ice.

Generally speaking, a landowner is not responsible for falls on natural accumulations of ice and snow, but they are responsible if they’ve had enough time to clear the snow and ice and they failed to do so.

2. Not every business has insurance.

People are often surprised to hear that businesses are not required to carry insurance. This is understandable because we must have insurance to drive a car, so why not require it to get a business license?

Unfortunately, you don’t have to be as responsible owning a business as you do driving a car. Certainly a business should have liability insurance, but oddly enough they don’t have to, which means you may be unable to get compensation for your injuries if you slip on ice at a business.

3. If you do fall on a business’s icy sidewalk, make sure to tell them right away and request that they keep any surveillance footage.

Make sure they keep footage from not only when you fell, but from the time when the snow or ice was coming down to the time you fell. This will show whether the owner made any effort to treat the sidewalks, which will help to prove the business was negligent and is responsible for compensation.

If you have any questions about slip and fall on ice or snow premises liability cases, please feel free to call our firm at (816) 867-8611. We offer a free consultation and would be be glad to talk to you about them.

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