Who is liable if you slip, fall on icy sidewalks? Local personal injury attorney explains answer

NOW: Who is liable if you slip, fall on icy sidewalks? Local personal injury attorney explains answer

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- If you stepped outside today, you might have had a hard time keeping your balance. 

Sidewalks are ice-covered. It prompts the questions: who is liable is you slip and fall on someone else's property? 

Local personal injury attorney David Roth said the answer often comes down to where the fall happened.

"It's very difficult to be successful in a claim on a typical city sidewalk slip and fall," Roth said.

Even though homeowners have the obligation to clear their portion of the sidewalk from snow and ice within 24 hours of a precipitation event, Roth said homeowners aren't typically responsible if someone slips and falls. The city likely won't take the blame either. 

"There's something called the three week rule, where a city or other municipality actually has three weeks to clear the snow or ice before they can be liable. It's called an absolute immunity," Roth said.

A homeowner may be liable if the ice is a result of an artificial accumulation. 

If you slip and fall in front of, or in the parking lot of a business, you could have a better chance of filing a successful claim. 

Roth said Wisconsin has the Safe Place Statute.

"The Safe Place Statute says that if you are an employer or property owner, you have to maintain the premises as safe as the nature would reasonably permit," Roth said. 

The claim balances the Safe Place Statute against the plaintiff's general obligation to be aware of their own safety and surroundings.

"A lot of things come into factor when you're talking about proving negligence against a property owner," Roth said. "It could be the time of day. When did the precipitation start? Was it still actively precipitating at the time of your fall?"

If you are hurt in a slip and fall accident, Roth recommends reaching out to an attorney right away so they can help you determine who is liable. He also suggests taking a picture of the surroundings at the time of the injury.

Share this article: