Cincy gets its fair share of snow and ice, blanketing the city regularly during the winter months and wreaking havoc on the streets, highways and bi-ways that motorists take to get to work or run errands. This perilous duo – snow and ice – also causes a fair share of problems in parking lots, on sidewalks, and in entryways to stores, public buildings, and other structures. But no matter how accustomed you may have grown to the slippery winter weather that Cincy is known for or how studious you are in preparing for its arrival, wintry conditions like these often lead to serious slip-and-fall injuries and the need for representation by a Cincinnati snow and ice fall attorney.
In Ohio, like in most states, property owners owe a standard duty of care to visitors to their premises—and your status as a visitor determines how much care is owed to you. If you are an invitee—a person who has an express or implied invitation to be on the premises to conduct business or shop—then you are owed the utmost duty of care. Invitees are on the premises for a reason that benefits the owner of the property, such as buying merchandise from a store. If you are a licensee, such as a guest at a backyard picnic, then the property owner owes you only ordinary care to prevent you from being harmed. And if you are a trespasser with no lawful purpose for coming onto the premises, the property owner owes you no duty of care but cannot willfully, recklessly or wantonly cause you to become injured.
A concept known as the “Winter Rule” holds true in many snow and ice fall cases in Ohio. In a nutshell, snow and ice are par for the course in winter, and folks who live in the city know it and prepare for it accordingly. Because of this, the courts often fail to attach liability for injuries that occur because of the naturally accumulating snow and ice that causes slip and fall injuries. Under Ohio law, it is already established that snow and ice are dangerous conditions that the premises owner has no duty to correct. The property owner is not duty-bound to remove snow and ice from accumulating, even if people expect them to.
However, there’s a thin line in Ohio between an open and obvious danger resulting from the natural accumulation of snow and ice—which is driven by forces of nature such as strong winds and plummeting mercy—and its unnatural accumulation. When human intervention (or negligence) causes the accumulation of snow and ice in ways or in places where it is not anticipated by a reasonable person, then the property owner may be held liable for any injuries that result. For example, a dangerous peril exists when a 5-inch pothole in a parking lot is hidden by snow—and its existence causes someone to fall and become seriously injured. If the property owner knew or should have known about this pothole, he can be liable for the broken bones and other injuries that might occur when it causes someone to fall.
Plaintiffs who successfully prove that their snow and ice fall injuries are the direct results of the property owner’s negligence can recover compensation for their lost wages, medical bills and other expenses related to their injuries. Paulozzi LPA Injury Lawyers, a seasoned group of Cincinnati snow and ice fall attorneys, can get the ball rolling on your claim. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 888-710-0040.