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If you fall, do you know if you have a premises liability claim?

It's winter, and that means it's a time when there are plenty of hazards around you. Ice, sleet, snow and the damage from the elements can all add up to create dangerous areas that can lead to accidents.

If you get hurt when you're on someone else's property, and if that injury is a result of their lack of maintenance or preparation for visitors or clients, then you may have a premises liability claim. Here's a little more about what makes an accident one you can claim for.

Store and business owners have a responsibility to their customers

Store and business owner do have a responsibility to their customers. It's important for them to make sure that their premises is safe. That means not having wiggly handrails, fixing broken staircases and making sure that walkways aren't unlevel, cracked or a trip hazard. Not all injuries are going to be a store owner's fault, though.

Here's an example. If Suzie walks up to a local grocery store and falls on a snowy sidewalk, that might not be enough to make a claim. After all, even if the store shoveled the area, snow can naturally build back up quickly. The store owner has to take resonable steps to reduce the risk of injury, but it may be impossible to completely eliminate the hazard.

However, if Suzie can show that the snow accumulated oddly as a result of an uneven walkway that was cracked under the snow, then that could be a premises liability claim. Similarly, if an icy patch is created because a gutter drains onto a pathway, that's extremely dangerous and something that a store owner should have known better than to have allowed.

What do you do if you get hurt on someone else's premises?

The first thing you'll want to do is to get medical care. You need to take care of yourself first, so call 911 or report the injury before driving yourself to a doctor's office or the emergency room.

Once you get to the medical provider's location, make sure you keep all the documents that you receive. For example, you'll want your patient chart, copies of any prescriptions you needed, copies of X-rays or MRIs, medical bills and so on. With these, you can begin building a case against the negligent store owner who failed to clear ice correctly and give your attorney something to work with as they negotiate a settlement for you.

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