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Winter snow and ice can lead to falls: Watch out

This is the time of year when people are most likely to fall due to ice and snow, so it's a good time to review what responsibilities property owners have. Property owners need to keep their stores, buildings, parking lots and other property safe and in good condition. Those properties should be free of hazards, so you aren't at risk.

Unfortunately, icy and snowy conditions can lead to falls that cause injuries. In some cases, those falls may lead to a personal injury claim.

Can you file a claim if you fall on ice or snow on a person's property?

Not necessarily. To make a claim, you need to show that the property owner was negligent or did not take actions that they needed to take to prevent accidents and injuries on their property. If the snow is fresh or ice has just formed, the owner probably hasn't had time to clear it. If they were in the process of clearing it at the time of the incident or had put out warnings, then you may not have a strong case.

On the other hand, if the owner of the property knew that their gutters were out of place and causing puddles on their stairs, then they should also have been aware of the risk of ice on the stairs in freezing conditions. If they don't take steps to remove that ice before someone falls, then they could be held responsible for the person's injuries.

It's important to take steps to keep yourself safe, too. Always stay on pathways and move slowly. Be cautious when you enter or leave buildings, especially when there is rain, ice or snow.

Do you have to go to court to seek compensation after a fall?

In most cases, premises liability cases will settle outside court. If you plan to negotiate for a settlement, it's a good idea to have your attorney work on the case and ask for fair compensation for your medical bills, rehabilitative therapies, lost wages and other financial losses resulting from your injuries. Your attorney's job is to focus on getting you the most compensation possible, so you can focus on your health and well-being while you recover.

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