Stores and businesses that operate their own store front are responsible for the entrance area and walkway directly outside the store. During the winter, these areas can ice over and cause potential walking hazards for people walking near the business. If you've been injured in an icy slip and fall outside a business, then there are four different variables that can impact your case. Every case has different circumstances going into it, and breaking down the variables can help sort out your situation and build evidence towards a possible settlement.
One of the biggest variables of an icy fall are the crowds that are around the exterior of the business. If the area is really crowded, then people may have blocked your view from any ice patches. With a lot of people gathering around the business, the business could have done more to protect customers and remove the ice.
Another factor in crowded walkways includes the path that is available to walk on. When snow and ice is not removed enough, walkways can become narrower, creating congestion and causing the slip and fall incident. An attorney will look at each of these factors and how the business is liable for the personal injuries.
Ice is hard to see in many situations. This is especially true in low-light situations when black ice is present. Black ice is a transparent coat of ice on a surface. It can be seen easier when light glares off it and the paved surface underneath. When a business has poor lighting conditions outside the storefront, it may be extremely hard to see the ice on the ground. One element of these poor lighting conditions may be missing or faulty lights on the exterior of the store.
For example, if a store typically has flood lights to illuminate the exterior and a light has been out or missing for numerous months, then the store could be held liable for the dark area. During an investigation, an attorney will attempt to investigate the lights, how often they were changed, and the dark spots that were created as a result of the missing lights.
Exterior Store Obstacles
Storefronts often like to entice customers with a variety of decorations and accessories that encourage them to go inside. For example, a small coffeehouse may have a sign that advertises a special or an upcoming performance. These decorations can actually become obstacles on a walking path. If they cause you to change the way you walk and lead you to ice, then the business could be liable.
Other than store signs on the ground, additional distractions include seasonal decorations like potted plants, hanging flags, or even a novelty like a store mascot. By using maps of the storefront and your injury location, a lawyer can determine if the obstacles were a main cause of your slip and fall injury.
No matter what type of distractions or situations come up, your personal actions are one of the biggest factors for your slip-and-fall case. Instances when you're running, walking backwards, or using something like a skateboard can all impact your case. In those situations, your actions may be deemed irresponsible and avoidable if you had taken different actions. Witnesses and any security footage will often be used to help showcase your walking actions during the injury.
Even smaller actions could impact your case. For example, an insurance company may look at your text messaging records to determine if you were operating your phone when the slip occurred. If you were distracted, the business may not be liable for your injuries. By providing a personal testimony, you can account for all of the small details. It's important to give as much as information as possible so your case can easily move forward.
Consult with a personal injury lawyer to see your different options with a case. It's important to act quickly so an attorney can sort these variables, visit the location, and determine if you have a case. Click here to learn more about slip-and-fall lawyers.