Business owner is liable for slip and fall on black ice

Business owners and their employees owe a duty to provide customers and visitors with safe premises. When slip-and-fall accidents occur in parking lots or on sidewalks, an injured party may file a legal action to recover damages.

A court may award compensation for medical expenses, surgical repairs, rehabilitation and time off for recovery. According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly website, an injured customer or visitor has two years to initiate a lawsuit for damages.

Businesses must warn of dangerous conditions

Parking lots and sidewalks may collect water and form ice patches during the winter. Employees must warn customers of the potential hazards of ice on the premises.

Yellow “caution” signs or cones may serve as a reasonable warning to avoid slip and fall dangers. A failure to provide a warning, however, means that a business has breached a duty of care.

A company may defend claiming there was no danger

A business’s defense strategy may include a claim that store employees did not know of a potential hazard or the customer caused his or her own accident. A Pennsylvania resident, for example, filed a lawsuit against the owners of a convenience store after she slipped and fell on black ice walking back to her vehicle in February of 2017. The store’s owner claimed employees did not know of any ice or precipitation on the ground. The store also claimed that the injured woman parked her car in a “no-parking” area.

As reported by Trib Total Media, the jury decided on an award verdict of nearly $1 million in damages. Based on an agreement reached with the injured woman before the jury came to a decision, the judge reduced the award to $600,000.

Those injured in slip-and-fall accidents at any time of the year may wish to speak to an attorney to learn about their options for holding business owners or other negligent parties responsible.