Winter is officially upon us, and with winter comes ice and snow. Unfortunately, ice and snow can be extremely hazardous if not removed properly. Even if a pedestrian/patron exercises extreme caution, hidden ice or uncleared snow can cause serious injury, including broken legs, broken arms, skull fractures, knee ligament (ACL/MCL) tears, and more.
Many New Hampshire snow or ice-related injuries to pedestrians/patrons are merely unpreventable accidents and no one’s fault. However, some injuries may be the result of a property owner’s negligence in maintaining their property. In New Hampshire, all property owners must exercise reasonable care in the maintenance and operation of their premises. Rallis v. Demoulas Super Markets, 159 N.H. 95 (2009). If a property owner fails to meet the standard of “reasonable care,” they may be found liable for negligence.
The owner of a property (premises) is liable for harm caused by that owner’s failure to correct — or give warning of — a known “dangerous condition” on a property. Ice near a storefront, for example, is a dangerous condition. Ice and snow slip-and-fall accidents often occur in parking lots of stores, other businesses, and residential homes.
Therefore, a property owner may be liable for negligence for pedestrian/patron slips-and-falls on their property caused by ice. The victim would need to show that (a) the property owner knew (or should have known) of the dangerous ice, and (b) the injury was reasonably foreseeable.
Taking the example of a grocery store with a sheet of black ice in front of the doorway, the victim would need to first show that the grocery store knew of the ice, or should have known about the ice if it had adequately inspected. Second, the victim would need to show that it was foreseeable that they would slip on the ice and harm themselves. Should these conditions be met, the grocery store (property owner) could well be found negligent and liable for damages.
Of course, pedestrians must act reasonably as well. A jury (or court) could find that the pedestrian/victim did not exercise sufficient caution, and limit or prohibit the victim from recovering damages under the doctrine of comparative negligence.
As a note, New Hampshire law RSA 508:22, which came into effect in 2013, will often play a role in ice/snow lawsuits. That law protects property owners from snow/ice liability when a premise is maintained by a “commercial applicator” of salt to roadways/parking lots. In order to avail themselves of these protections, commercial applicators must meet certain certification requirements under the statute.
In sum, the weather during winter can create serious safety hazards. Sometimes, injuries due to ice and snow are not preventable: they’re just a part of living in New Hampshire. On the other hand, sometimes injuries occur because a property owner did not take the reasonable steps necessary to make their property safe. In those situations, an injured person might be able to bring a claim against the property owner’s insurance company, or the contractor responsible for managing the property.
If you have a personal injury claim involving a slip-and-fall on ice, or another injury on someone else’s property, contact us today. Welts, White & Fontaine attorneys have decades of experience in personal injury law and the knowledge and tools necessary to obtain favorable settlements and verdicts for their clients.
Welts, White & Fontaine serves clients across Southern New Hampshire, from Concord to Nashua, Windham to Milford, and everywhere in between. We’re the largest law firm in Nashua and typically represent personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis: no upfront cost and our fee comes from a percentage of your settlement.
Call us today at (603) 883-0707 or contact us
Author: Jack S. White
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion or forming an attorney-client relationship.
A snow and ice injury lawyer specializes in cases where individuals have been injured due to hazardous winter conditions, such as icy sidewalks or snow-covered parking lots. Their primary role is to provide legal counsel, investigate the incident, negotiate with property owners or insurers, and, if necessary, pursue legal action on behalf of victims. Their goal is to help you obtain compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the slip and fall accident.
After a slip and fall on snow or ice, it’s crucial to take the following steps:
– Seek Medical Attention: Ensure that any injuries are treated promptly and documented by medical professionals.
– Document the Scene: Take photos of the hazardous conditions, including the snow or ice accumulation and any relevant signage or warnings.
– Identify Witnesses: Obtain contact information from any witnesses who may have seen your fall.
– Report the Incident: Notify the property owner or manager of the incident and seek a copy of any incident reports.
– Consult a Lawyer: Reach out to a lawyer at Welts, White, & Fontaine, P.C. for guidance on your legal rights and potential compensation.
With the assistance of a snow and ice injury lawyer, you can seek various types of compensation, including:
– Medical Expenses: Coverage for medical bills related to your injuries, including doctor’s visits, surgery, rehabilitation, and prescription medications.
– Pain and Suffering: Damages for physical and emotional distress caused by the slip and fall accident.
– Lost Wages: Compensation for income lost due to time off work while recovering from injuries.
– Property Damage: Reimbursement for damage to personal property, such as clothing or items damaged during the fall.
– Future Expenses: Compensation for anticipated future medical costs or ongoing treatments related to your injuries.
Property owners are generally responsible for maintaining safe conditions on their premises, including snow and ice removal. However, liability can depend on various factors, such as the property owner’s knowledge of the hazard, the timeliness of snow and ice removal, and whether reasonable precautions were taken. Consulting a lawyer is essential for evaluating the specific circumstances of your case.
Selecting the right lawyer is crucial for a successful outcome. Consider factors such as the attorney’s experience in handling similar cases, their track record of achieving favorable settlements or verdicts, and their commitment to client communication. It’s also essential to schedule consultations to assess your comfort level and rapport with the attorney. Welts, White, & Fontaine, P.C. has a team of experienced lawyers who can provide the legal guidance you need during this challenging time.
If you’ve suffered a snow or ice-related injury, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Our dedicated snow and ice injury lawyers are here to protect your rights, navigate the legal process, and seek the compensation you deserve. Your well-being and recovery are our top priorities.
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