Slip and Fall in Winter (Ice and Snow)
It is common to have freezing temperatures during Utah’s winter. Many times these temperatures cause a natural accumulation of ice or snow that can prove to be slippery and dangerous. Be sure to know the actual state of the law in Utah to protect yourself.
Actual Liability and Viability of a ClaimIt is common to have freezing temperatures during Utah*s winter. Many times these temperatures cause a natural accumulation of ice or snow that can prove to be slippery and dangerous. However, just because ice and snow is present and causes injury, does not mean that there is a viable cause of action against the establishment that has the dangerous condition.
The Current State of the LawThe Utah Supreme Court set out specific requirements to hold land owners liable such an accumulation. *Liability of store owner for injury to customers should be established only when the condition complained of has existed for a long enough time that the owner should have known about it and corrected it, or has had actual knowledge of the condition complained of.*
These cases are very fact intensive. In Utah, courts have stated that the business owners were not liable for a customer who slipped on an icy walkway after the store had closed for the day. This is especially true where there was no evidence to show that the danger had existed for any period of time prior to the accident. While it may be undisputed that snow had fallen during the day, the walkway may have been shoveled at some point and salt used. The snow and ice must have formed at a time and place when it was observed by the store's employees or any customers, and that the freezing occurred before or around the time the store's employees could reasonably have expected customers to come to the store.
How to Approach A Winter Slip and FallAgain, in the absence of evidence showing how long the accumulation existed, business owners may be relieved of liability for injuries to a customer who slipped on ice or snow and fell. As a result of this difficulty, photos * from the exact time of the accident are incredibly important. These photos should be from the immediate and surrounding areas where the person slipped and fell.
In SummationBe careful and watch your surroundings. Slip and fall injuries can be significant and impact your life substantially. Know the law, and your rights in order to protect yourself and your future.