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What To Do When You Slip and Fall on Ice

Updated February 26, 2024 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Winter in Indiana brings snow, ice, and the dreaded “wintry mix” falling from the sky. It sometimes makes our roads and sidewalks treacherous, especially when temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing. Additionally, we track snow indoors where it can melt and make floors slippery.

If you fall on ice, snow, or wet floors, you may suffer just a bruised ego—or you could be seriously hurt. If a fall lands you in the hospital, could you be entitled to compensation for your injuries? Can you file a slip-and-fall-on-ice-lawsuit? The answer depends on the circumstances that led to your fall.

Can You Sue for Slipping on Ice?

The answer to this question depends on the accident’s location. For example, slipping on ice at a commercial business is often different than falling in front of your neighbor’s house. Documenting the condition of the location at the time of the fall is important to any slip-and-fall case. Getting a picture of the ice, snow, or wet condition may not always be easy, especially if you’re injured, but it can provide important evidence later to show that the area was dangerous.  Let’s look at the two main locations where slip and fall-on-ice accidents occur in Indiana. 

Commercial Properties

Commercial properties- or businesses- have what is called duty of care. Duty of care is the legal duty to keep a premise safe. We will go into more detail a little further down the page about what constitutes a duty of care. 

Commercial properties must have their business safe in a reasonable amount of time. The business-goers should also warn about the weather conditions and safety hazards, such as slippery sidewalks. This must be done in a certain amount of time, not specified by law, but conditionally based on the circumstances. 

Additionally, businesses often have safety policies to ensure the standard of care is performed. It’s often part of a business’ obligation to have their sidewalks cleared and salted before opening for the day.  As such injury claims against  businesses are more common because they have a heightened obligation to make their place safe for customers. However, a business is not automatically liable for any slip-and-fall on ice. They must know, or have taken reasonable steps to know, about the slippery condition. 

Working with an experienced attorney is vital to establishing a solid case in your favor.

Residential Properties 

Slip and fall on ice cases against homeowners can sometimes depend on whether there are any statues, codes, or ordinances for sidewalks to be cleared. Some cities and neighborhoods have rules about homeowners being obligated to clear sidewalks after it snows.  

When the ordinances are not followed, it can give rise to liability on the homeowner. Regardless of ordinances, homeowners must still maintain a relatively safe environment. If not, there may be cause for liability. 

The litigation process around slip and fall accidents can be confusing as the location is an essential component of your case. If you are interested in slip and fall-on-ice settlements or even taking your case to court in a slip-and-fall on ice lawsuit, contact a member of the WKW team today. We can help you navigate the complex Indiana legal system of slip and fall accidents and comparative negligence.

Want to know more about residential owner slip-and-fall claims? Read our blog post about when property owners are liable for slip and fall injuries.

Duty of Care

Property and business owners have a legal duty of care to keep their premises safe. This implies they must do everything reasonable to prevent foreseeable harm to tenants, customers, and other visitors to their property or business. Duty of care includes anything a reasonable person could predict might cause someone to become injured.

When it comes to falling on ice, injuries can be anything from a tiny bruise to a major concussion or more. Ice is a hazard, and property owners- particularly commercial business owners- need to be conscientious of the hazards snow and ice present. The property manager must proceed with reasonable care to ensure slip-and fall-on-ice injuries are avoided. This includes:

  • Inspecting their property during the winter months to make sure walkways are clear 
  • Hiring a plow company for snow and ice removal
  • Removing said hazards within a reasonable time

If a property owner does not use reasonable safety to the extent possible, and a person slipped in the snow and suffered an injury on their premises, the owner may be found to be negligent. 

However, if an accident happens and the property owner tried with reasonable care; and within a reasonable time, it may be found that the owner did act within their duty of care and will not be found negligent. 

If you would like to pursue a slip and fall on ice lawsuit, doing so is all about timing and circumstance. Contact an Indianapolis premises liability lawyer on the WKW team today. We can start investigating your case and collecting evidence to build a case. 

Proving Negligence

You might be entitled to be compensated for the losses your injury has caused you if you can demonstrate that a business or property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the conditions that led to your fall. Such steps include:

  • Removing snow and ice on steps and walkways promptly
  • Keeping parking lots clear of ice and snow
  • Placement of mats inside entryways to prevent slippery floors
  • Placing “wet floor” signs where people are likely to track in snow and slush from outdoors

Of course, no one can reasonably be expected to remove every snowflake as it falls and mop up every drop on the floor. However, the law does require that steps such as these be taken within a reasonable amount of time.

What To Do After Falling On Ice

If you have slipped in the snow or have suffered falling-on-ice injuries, it’s important to know what to do to stay as safe as possible and prepare for a potential slip-and fall-on-ice claim or settlement. If you have fallen on ice:

  • Assess the damage. Ask yourself if you are in pain; if so, it is severe enough to call an ambulance. 
  • Take photos and videos of the area. Collect as much as you can so it can be used for evidence later on.
  • Seek medical attention, even if you are not in immediate pain. Sometimes, the shock of an accident can cover up injuries.
  • Call a member of the WKW team

You may be entitled to compensation due to another person’s negligence after falling on ice or snow. Our Indiana premise liability lawyers at WKW have in-depth knowledge and experience negotiating slip-and-fall-on-ice settlements. 

Because of Indiana’s comparative negligence law, you want to ensure you work with an attorney who can prove that most negligence lies on the property owner. Talk to our team today if you have been injured after a slip and fall on ice accident. 

Contact a Premises Liability Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact the Indianapolis Premises Liability Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. Call 317.218.9643 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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