Storm, or Flurry?

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Q: On Monday, eight inches of snow fell.  On Wednesday, a tenth of an inch.  Half an hour into the Wednesday weather event, as I walked across a dimly-lit parking lot, I slipped on ice.  For weeks, ice had been accumulating in this parking lot.  The owner’s only response was to call a plow.

A: Under the ‘storm in progress’ doctrine, a property owner is not liable in negligence for injuries caused by ice that results from a storm that is ongoing, or that ended a short time before.  If the owner cries ‘storm in progress’, your attorney will seek evidence that this ice remained from the Wednesday snowfall – or had built up throughout the winter.  Moreover, he or she is likely to argue that the Wednesday snowfall simply did not amount to a storm.

In invoking the ‘storm in progress’ doctrine, the owner will generally submit weather records showing a storm at a nearby ‘weather station’, such as an airport.  In rebuttal, your attorney will submit your own testimony that the weather was far milder precisely where you fell.  Ideally, you can give more detail regarding the half hour leading up to your fall – such as the proportions of snow, sleet and rain, and the temperature.  Your attorney will argue that only a jury can decide whether there was a storm in progress at the time and location of your accident.

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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