Ice/Snow Natural Accumulation

Unfortunately Ohio is known for snow and ice in the winter months! And with snow and ice comes unsafe slippery conditions. Luckily cities and most property owners are responsible and take the necessary steps to keep their sidewalks and parking lots clear; however, some are not as responsible causing people to slip and fall.

A claim for personal injuries can be brought against a property owner if they are negligent and did not take reasonable measures to try and provide a safe condition. If the snow and ice in an area accumulates naturally, then the property owner has no duty to remove the accumulation no matter how long it has been present. However, once a property owner starts to clear snow or ice from an area they assume the responsibility to do so without negligence. An example of this would be if the property owner shovels snow into a pile on the higher end of a sloped parking lot. The pile of snow later melts down the slope and freezes over causing an unnatural accumulation of ice and a hazard to other people. In this instance the property owner was negligent in his removal of the snow and if someone then slips and falls they can be held liable.

It can be very difficult to prove unnatural accumulation of ice and snow. Often attorney’s will look at the grade of the parking lot, the way the lot was plowed, and temperature fluctuations that may have caused unsafe conditions. The person filing the claim must also be able to prove that the unnatural accumulation was present for a sufficient length of time. The property owner is expected to inspect the property and resolve any unnatural accumulations within a reasonable time frame. If they fail to do so they can be held liable if someone injures themselves on their property by a condition they created.