Black Ice

Q: One Saturday morning, on my way to work, I slipped and fell in a parking lot owned by the village.  On Friday morning, the village had inspected and salted the lot.  But the village employs no work crew on weekends, and in the meantime the air temperature had risen above freezing for a few hours and then dropped.

By Friday, the village had plowed snow into a row of meters adjacent to the parking spaces.  I fell on a patch of black ice.  It must have been caused by the melting and refreezing of a pile.  Did the village have any business in plowing the snow so near the parking spaces – if it wasn’t going to check on weekends, too?

A: Your attorney will argue that the village’s negligence in the maintenance of a municipally-owned parking facility foreseeably triggered the development of black ice.  However cost-saving and pragmatic the piling of plowed snow may be, it certainly presents the known, foreseeable risk of melting and refreezing.

A pothole would be different.  There, a patch of pavement gradually and unpredictably deteriorates, and statutes generally require that the city first receive written notice of the problem.  Here, local temperature data is fully available to the city, and it needs no additional notice of the possible danger – arising from its very own method.

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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