If I Slip and Fall in an Icy Parking Lot, Can I Sue the Business Owner?
We all know Wisconsin winters can be harsh. Most of the time, homeowners and businesses do their best to keep driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots clear. If you’ve taken a fall in an icy parking lot, here are some things to consider before you think about filing a personal injury lawsuit against a business.
Wisconsin has premises liability laws that can be cited in cases of alleged wintertime negligence on the part of a business. Simply put, businesses are legally obligated to keep entrances, sidewalks, and even nearby parking lot sections clear of snow and ice. In winter slip and fall cases, a court will look at the effort a business made to accomplish this. A business’s efforts also can be brought into question under Wisconsin’s “safe place” statute. In short, employers are obligated to provide a safe work environment for employees, and keeping a property accessible in the winter is part of this.
As with any application of the law, interpretations and extenuating circumstances abound. For example, Wisconsin upholds the “natural accumulation” rule. Snow melts and refreezes repeatedly over the winter. This is natural for the time of year, as are people’s efforts to clear it away. To make a case against a business, a personal injury attorney must point to a clear instance of man-made, or “artificial” accumulation that caused a problem. Your case may be dismissed if the court decides that a place of business took every reasonable step to keep the premises clear.
A court will also look at your conduct as the plaintiff. What path did you take to get to an entrance? Were you paying close attention? How badly were you injured? Every case is different, so you need someone who really understands the process. The personal injury lawyers at Welcenbach Law Offices have more than 35 years of experience with slip and fall claims. If you’ve been injured, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation!