Winters in Connecticut are rough. The state averages 37 inches of snow yearly, more than the US average of 28 inches. And with snow and ice comes winter-related slip and fall hazards. Slipping on ice comes with many injuries, such as bruises, fractured limbs, spinal cord injuries, dislocations, and traumatic brain injuries.
What happens if you slip on ice on someone else’s property and injure yourself in Connecticut? Can you hold the property owner liable for your injuries? Here’s what to know about ice walkway slip and fall law in Connecticut.
Types of Ice Slip and Fall Incidents
Proving liability for a slip and fall incident can be difficult. The first step is to identify what type of slip and fall incident you had and where it occurred to put the liability on the right source.
In Connecticut, the local municipality must keep sidewalks ice-free, not the property owner. In other words, you’ll have to file your claim against the town or city–regardless of whether you slipped in front of a home, private business, park, or any other sidewalk.
Understand that it’s difficult to prove the local municipality is liable for your injuries. Connecticut allows the defendant to shift liability on the plaintiff. The defendant can hold you liable if you were negligent, such as under the influence of alcohol or any other substances.
Keep in mind that Connecticut does have comparative negligent rules, which we will discuss later. An experienced Connecticut slip and fall lawyer can use this rule in your favor.
What if you fell on an outside walkway in front of a private business, such as a grocery store or a restaurant? The business can be held liable if the incident falls under premises liability.
To prove premises liability, you must prove that the walkway was dangerous or defective. The business owner must have kept their walkways safe by adding traction (sawdust, sand, cat litter, coffee grinds, etc.) or using any de-icing method. They may also put up a sign warning the passerby that the walkway is slippery.
If you prove the business didn’t take these actions, you can sue them on premises liability.
You may use additional proof, such as surveillance footage, but understand that this proof may not be available.
What if you slipped and fell on icy stairs? If you can prove the stairs have been neglected, you may wonder who you can hold liable for your injuries.
There are many aspects to take into consideration. First, identify who owned the property. Unless the local municipality owns the stairs, the fault falls on the property owner.
You’ll want to check building codes next. Every building code has different requirements for stair height and width. If you fell at night, the property owner must have placed adequate lighting. Handrails are also necessary for safety purposes.
In addition to building codes, you’ll want to note any other hazards, such as loose or broken stairs, broken handrails, or trash left on the steps.
What If You Fall on Snow?
Local Connecticut municipality identifies all wintertime conditions as a liability, including snow. The municipality, property owner, or business must clear snow off a walkway or sidewalk after a snowstorm. In addition, the property owner can spread sand or similar materials to create traction.
Understand that if you fall on a walkway in the middle of a snowstorm, you can’t hold the property owner liable for your injuries. Every city has certain rules for removing snow after a snowstorm. We will discuss this more in-depth later.
To prove the defendant was negligent and is responsible for your injuries, your Connecticut slip and fall attorney will match the date and time of your injury to local weather reports. They will take your negligent walkway claims as evidence and may reach out to other witnesses to prove liability.
If you slipped on an icy sidewalk or walkway, there are many ways to prove the local municipality or property owner was liable for your injuries. Your Connecticut slip and fall lawyer will pay attention to weather reports and other wintertime ordinances. They will also note any exceptions to these rules.
If the defendant tries to hold you liable, your attorney will also take comparative negligence into account.
Local Snow Ordinances
First, your attorney will identify any local snow ordinances for the area where you were injured. These are snow removal laws governed by the local municipality.
This duty falls on the town except when there’s snow and ice on private property. Local laws will also mention how long after a storm the property owners must remove the ice or snow. If your Connecticut slip and fall attorney can prove the city or property owner violated this ordinance, it leaves you a step closer to winning your case.
Your Connecticut slip and fall lawyer will also take weather reports as evidence. These weather reports include snowstorms, blizzards, or any other condition that causes a dangerous accumulation of ice or snow.
Comparative negligence is when the plaintiff is responsible for a percentage of their injuries. This means the plaintiff can’t recover the total amount of damages. The defendant will use this rule if you were acting negligently, such as walking while intoxicated, not wearing proper footwear, or being on your phone.
Keep in mind that you still can claim damages if the defendant was at least 50% responsible for your injuries. A skilled Connecticut slip and fall attorney can gather the necessary evidence to put fault on the city or property owner.
Connecticut has ongoing storm laws, which means you can’t hold the city or property owner accountable if you slip and fall during an ongoing storm. After the storm has passed, the property owner must remove the snow or ice, put up a sign, or create traction on the ground within a specific time frame (usually up to 24 hours).
There are other exceptions to note. The property owner must have been informed of the storm or dangerous weather conditions, usually in the form of a weather report. If there was a last-minute storm, the defendant might mention that in their favor.
Statute of Limitations
In Connecticut, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years, which is true for all claims of this such, even in those where you’ll need a car accident lawyer. It can take significant time to receive a proper diagnosis and collect all evidence. This is why you need an experienced Connecticut slip and fall attorney immediately after your injury.
Contact Us After Your Ice Walkway Slip and Fall Accident
If you had an ice walkway slip and fall accident, our experienced lawyers will fight to ensure you receive maximum compensation. Our Connecticut personal injury law firm operates in various cities, from Waterbury to New Haven. Reach out to our attorneys for a free consultation.