For residents in New York and the Northeast region of the United States, this past winter was one of the harshest and snowiest on record. As a result, the topic of snow removal and how to ensure for the safe transport of residents to and from work and school was a topic of much conversation.
Any business that's open to the public has a responsibility to ensure its premise is safe and free of known hazards. In the case of snow and ice, business owners are required to ensure they have a proper and adequate winter preparedness and snow removal plan in place. In some cases, however, despite a business owner's best attempts, Mother Nature wins out.
On a particularity nasty winter evening in 2009, a man slipped and fell on a patch of ice while walking through a shopping mall parking lot. Upon attempting to attend to and transport the man to a nearby hospital, first responders also noted especially slippery conditions and reported difficulty walking through the park lot to assist the injured man.
As a result of the slip and fall accident, the man suffered a broken ankle for which he underwent surgery and spent approximately six weeks recovering. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the owners of the shopping mall in which he accused the owners of failing to maintain a safe premise.
After reviewing the shopping mall's snow removal contract and log entries that the lot had been serviced four times on the day the accident occurred, a judge dismissed the case. In his decision, the judge noted that the "efforts made to respond to the risk were found to be acceptable."
Business owners who are facing legal action due to a slip and fall accident or other accident that occurred on a business’ premise, would be wise to seek legal advice and assistance to defend against the claim.
Source: The Telegram, "Slip and fall case dismissed," Glen Whiffen, May 4, 2015