Slip in the Parking Lot

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Q: In a parking lot owned and maintained by the village, I slipped and fell on ice.

A: Most likely, the village has a ‘prior written notice’ statute.  Under such a statute, in a nutshell, no civil action can be maintained against the village for injuries sustained in consequence of a defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition or of the existence of snow or ice upon any highway etc. unless written notice, relating to the particular place, had actually been given to the village clerk and there was a failure or neglect to correct the condition.

Our courts have held that this kind of parking lot fits within the category of ‘highway’ in such statutes.  It is owned and maintained by the village and is accessible to the general public for vehicular travel.  As a result, the village was entitled to notice and an opportunity to correct any defect before being required to respond to a claim of negligence with respect thereto.

The theory of law is that municipalities are not expected to be cognizant of every patch of ice, crack or defect within their borders.  They will not be held responsible for injury from such a defect unless given an opportunity to repair it.

Assuming that the village did not receive prior written notice of this icy condition, you will need to prove that the village’s snow removal operations had actually created the icy condition in the first place.  To prevail on that challenging theory, you will need excellent evidence, such as photographs of the village’s snow plow in process of actually creating the patch on which you fell.

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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