Q: The village had piled snow on both sides of the sidewalk. There, I slipped and fell on ice. This ice was located on a portion of the sidewalk that slopes down from the snow piles. From what I remember, there was no sand or salt on the sidewalk.
A: Most probably, the village has enacted a prior written notice statute. Under such a statute, the village may not be subjected to liability for injuries caused by an improperly maintained street or sidewalk unless it has received written notice of the defect, or an exception to the written notice requirement applies. Recognized exceptions to the prior written notice requirement exist where the municipality created the defect or hazard through an affirmative act of negligence, or where a special use confers a special benefit upon the municipality.
Your attorney will argue that the village created the icy condition by its affirmative negligent act of piling snow on both sides of the sidewalk. The snow foreseeably then melted, pooled in a sunken area of the sidewalk, and refroze to create the hazardous condition. A municipality’s act in piling snow as part of its snow removal efforts, which snow then melts and refreezes to create a dangerous icy condition, constitutes an affirmative act giving rise to an exception to the prior written notice requirement.
To prove your case, your attorney will want to look at the weather records. He or she will hope that the evidence shows that, after the village created the snow piles, the temperature rose and remained above freezing – so the snow melted into water. Closer to the time of your accident, the temperature dropped to below freezing – so this water froze into ice.
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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