A Snow Fall

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Q: Early one winter morning, while walking in the parking lot of a store, I slipped and fell on frozen snow and ice.

A: At first, your attorney is likely to be preoccupied by the following two questions.  (1) Was snow still falling?   (2) If not, how long before your accident had snow ceased to fall?  The reason is that, under the so-called ‘storm in progress rule’, a property owner is usually not held liable unless enough time had passed, after the storm had stopped, to permit remediation of its hazards.  The rule is designed to relieve the owner of any obligation to shovel snow while continuing precipitation or high winds are simply re-covering the area as fast as it is cleaned, thus rendering the effort fruitless.

All the same, if a storm is ongoing, and the owner elects to remove snow, the owner must do so with reasonable care.  Otherwise, the owner could be held liable for creating or exacerbating the natural hazard created by the storm.

To understand whether the storm was ongoing, and when it had ceased, your attorney will be happy to get your recollection.  But he or she has other resources, too.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other entities collect a wealth of weather information.  At airports, at Central Park, and from helicopters, snow and other precipitation is measured, and the temperature is taken – often every hour.

On the other hand, there is no substitute for your own photographs, taken of the scene of your slip and fall, as soon as reasonably possible after it occurred.  For an accident victim, the first priority is always prompt medical attention.  In terms of helping the lawsuit, photographs can often be a second priority.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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