Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury in the winter. Sometimes, these accidents are the unavoidable result of harsh weather conditions. Other times, it is someone’s carelessness that leads others to fall and get hurt. Many slips and falls are entirely preventable when property owners and business operators use reasonable care to keep those on their premises safe. A number of careless practices when it comes to managing winter weather conditions can make accidents more likely.
Demonstrating liability for a slip and fall can be challenging, due to a number of Wisconsin state laws. Whether you will be able to recover is highly dependent on the specific facts of your case. You will most likely need to speak with an attorney first to determine whether you may be eligible for compensation.
What Causes Winter Slip and Falls – and Could I Recover?
Wisconsin land and business owners may not be liable for every slip and fall that happens on their property due to active weather conditions. However, Milwaukee and a number of other Wisconsin cities have local ordinances that require those with properties abutting a sidewalk or other public walkways to clear snow and ice accumulations after the winter storm has stopped. Common reasons people are injured after slipping and falling in the winter include:
Careless shoveling – It can happen, somewhat ironically, that when a property owner tries to clear away snow or ice, he ultimately makes the situation worse and causes the very type of accident he meant to prevent. One common way this happens is when people shovel snow into piles near a hill or slant. When the snow pile melts, the water can run into a footpath and cause someone to slip.
Unnatural accumulations – Accumulations of ice that came from a source other than natural precipitation can be extremely difficult for guests on a property to anticipate and avoid. This can be as simple as an apartment resident pouring out a cup of coffee next to her car, where someone later slips. It could also involve a property owner diverting runoff into a puddle where it freezes into ice. If the victim slips in an unnatural accumulation of ice rather than natural ice, the party who crested the hazard could be held liable.
Hidden obstacles – These are not always classic cases of someone slipping, but objects hidden under the snow can cause serious falls. Anything from children’s toys to gardening tools or parking blocks can become buried under snow and impossible to see. People can easily slip or trip over hidden objects they had no chance of avoiding.
If you are hurt after a fall, make sure to seek appropriate medical treatment immediately, and then call an attorney.
Speak With a Wisconsin Slip and Fall Attorney
Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP represents those who were injured as a result of someone’s careless management of winter weather on their property. When you are ready to speak to one of our qualified Milwaukee slip and fall lawyers, call 414-271-1440 for a free consultation.