Winter is coming and there are so many things to look forward to! The first snow, a crackling fire, skiing, snowshoeing or whatever floats your boat. I personally love winter. I will admit that I can live without the treacherous roads and the ice everywhere when I’m just trying to go about my normal routine. Oh and the cold, I can live without the extreme cold!
Did you know that it is a relatively recent development that if you wiped out and got really hurt in the parking lot of a business due to their failure to remove snow and ice, that you can sue the business owner for your injuries? Prior to 2010, a person could only sue a business owner if they were hurt from an unnatural accumulation of snow and ice. Unnatural meaning that the snow and ice were present from something other than falling from the sky. An example is water dripping from a gutter on the roof accumulates on stairs creating a slippery surface causing someone to fall. In that case you were able to sue the owner if you were injured. But, if that owner did not bother to salt or sand his or her steps and there was ice naturally occurring on the stairs, you could not sue. It made no sense because it gave business owners no incentive to treat their properties and make them safe for their guests..
In 2010, a case came along that changed the exposure of business owners. The case name doesn’t matter as much as the ruling. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that business owners are now responsible for maintaining their premises in a safe and reasonable manner and that if someone was injured from their lack of care in removing snow and ice from their property, they could be held responsible.
This case has made our sidewalks and parking lots of businesses a lot safer!
I wish you a slip and fall free winter!