The Weather Can Affect Your Slip and Fall Case
Slip and fall accidents are fairly common, and the associated damages tend to be extensive. While we all know that inclement weather can make slip and falls more likely, property owners are responsible for employing reasonable care in relation to mitigating this danger, and this fact can play a significant role in your slip and fall case.
The Elements of All Slip and Fall Cases
In order to successfully pursue a slip and fall case, the following elements must be represented:
You were an invited guest on the property (such as a customer or client in a business, restaurant, or store), which means that the property owner or manager owed you a duty of care that is in step with what other reasonable property owners provide in similar situations.
The property owner or manager did not rise to this duty of care and, in the process, left guests like you vulnerable to slipping and falling.
As a result of the property owner’s negligence, you did slip and fall.
You were injured in the process.
These represent the basic elements of a slip and fall case, and the effects of weather can directly apply.
How Weather Can Play a Role
While we rarely see snow or ice in Killeen, we do have our share of wind and rain. These aspects of the weather coupled with natural debris such as falling leaves can make walking surfaces – including parking lots, sidewalks, and other walkways – very slippery. Commercial property owners and managers are responsible for clearing away looming slip-and-fall hazards caused by weather and warning patrons about the inherent danger. Additionally, the effects of the weather are not limited to the outdoors. In fact, when water or wet, slippery debris is tracked indoors, it can make entryways, staircases, aisles, and other walking areas exceptionally slippery and exceptionally dangerous.
The Property Owner’s Responsibility
No, property owners cannot control the weather, but this does not abdicate their responsibility when it comes to slip and falls that are caused or exacerbated by weather. For example, if leaves and debris are piling up on a walkway (whether indoors or out), the property owner should clean the debris away while warning visitors of their inherent danger in the interim. Clearing away outdoor dampness and standing water may be impossible, but warnings can be extremely useful. Further, if property owners are aware of areas that are especially susceptible to becoming slippery in relation to the weather, they owe their patrons fair warning. Property owners who simply leave their guests to their own devices when it comes to the adverse effects of the weather generally do not live up to providing the duty of care owed.