Property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises safe and hazard-free. This includes ensuring that their walkways, driveways, parking lots, and other common areas are clear of ice and snow. When ice and snow are allowed to accumulate, it can create very dangerous conditions that can cause serious injuries. Owners who allow dangerous conditions to exist on their property, can be held liable for a personal injury claim and lawsuit.
Property owners generally fall into 3 groups:
- Commercial Establishments: Includes retail stores, hotels, apartment complexes, and other non-residential and non-government properties
- Residential Properties: Includes privately owned homes, condominiums, duplexes, townhomes, and other non-commercial and non-government properties
- Governmental Properties: Includes post office buildings, motor vehicle departments, federal buildings, courthouses, etc.
Licensees & Invitees
A property owners’ legal duty of care extends to what is referred to as invitees and licensees. Invitees are people the property owner benefits from. Invitees can be shoppers in a supermarket, guests at hotels, mail delivery personnel, and others who are not social guests.
Licensees are people who have a social objective, not a business objective. Neighbors, children, party guests, and friends who are social guests are usually considered licensees.
A property owner’s legal duty of care and subsequent liability varies from case to case. There is no exact measurement for how much ice or snow there must be for a property owner to be deemed negligent. This also applies to the amount of time a property owner has to remove the ice or snow before becoming liable. Ice can form in a matter of hours and melt just as quickly. The probability of people walking on the sidewalk is also a factor in determining if a property owner is liable.
Have you been injured from a slip or fall caused by ice on a walkway? We can help. Contact our Waterbury personal injury attorneysto get started on your case today.