The leaves have fallen and the cold of Old Man Winter is just around the corner here in Springfield, Missouri. For some this is a welcome time of year, while others feel a sense of dread as winter creates hazardous conditions whether in a vehicle or on foot. According to the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, nearly one third of all workers compensation claims in the Midwest are a result of a slip and fall on ice or snow. With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind for a safe winter.
Duty of Care
Property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care to reduce the risk of injuries when maintaining public areas such as parking lots or sidewalks outside of their businesses. This care often comes in the form of contracting with companies that plow driveways and parking lots and shovel sidewalks to make them pedestrian friendly. Additionally, individuals using these areas have a responsibility to exercise care when using these public spaces. Failure to do so, could impact the amount recovered if you choose to file a suit against the business owner.
Snow and ice removal should be done in a reasonable amount of time after a weather event to improve safety. It is important to consider what is reasonable given the amount of snow and the location of the weather occurrence. For example, what is reasonable in Missouri, might be completely different in a warmer or colder climate.
What Can Be Recovered?
In a normal slip and fall case you may be able to recover medical expenses by filing suit against the property owner or even the snow removal contractor. Additionally, if your accident results in time off of work, you could recover lost wages. Finally, if you have significant pain and suffering or residual issues, you may be entitled to compensation because of these issues.
The key to a successful slip and fall case is often found in the evidence that is collected. If you are able, take photographs of the area where the incident occurred as soon as possible after the accident. Additionally, keep careful records of any pain or changes in your normal habits because of the accident.
The Morrissey Law Firm, PC, is located in Springfield, Missouri, and focuses in personal injury and wrongful death trial work. If you need a personal injury or wrongful death attorney, please visit our website or call (417) 887-0529 to schedule a consultation.