As the winter months bring snow and ice, it is important to take extra caution when going outside and driving in inclement weather, to avoid slip and falls or car accidents. Our Toledo, Ohio personal injury attorneys also want to remind readers that the natural accumulation of snow and ice cannot be considered a form of negligence when it comes to slip and fall accidents. Regardless, it is a good idea to salt walkways and driveways frequently and keep them free from snow and ice to keep yourself and others safe.
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious personal injury. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 16,000 Americans die annually due to slip and fall accidents, with almost 11,000 of the deaths happening to those 75 years and older. Slip and fall accidents occur when a business or property owner is negligent by failing to recognize a hazard, resulting in the reason for a fall.
Our Toledo, Ohio personal injury attorneys want to stress that it is important to remember that not all hazards are considered negligent. Personal injury resulting from slip and fall accidents can happen, but the business or property owner may not always be at fault.
For example, the owner must have known or should have known of the condition, yet failed to clear the hazard to be responsible for causing the slip and fall.
Another factor in determining slip and fall liability is whether or not the manager cleaned up the hazard in a reasonable amount of time. If they were on notice of the spill, yet failed to clean it up quickly, the slip and fall could have been prevented, and it is likely that the owner or manager could be held liable.
If the hazard was open and obvious, though, the owner has no duty to protect a customer. Using the example of broken eggs on a grocery store floor, it is possible that a store-owner or manager would not be liable if the hazard were open and obvious. If the broken eggs were roped off with a sign announcing the mess, yet the customer decided to walk through the area anyway, they would be walking at their own risk and also be held responsible for their own slip and fall accident and any personal injury resulting from it. Even if the eggs were not roped off but were in plain sight, the hazard might still be considered open and obvious and should be avoided. The idea is that if someone should have seen the hazard, he should have avoided it.