Premises Liability for Snow and Ice in Georgia
Is a Georgia property owner responsible for clearing hazardous ice patches or warning visitors about icy conditions? In most cases, yes, the property owner is responsible and can be held liable for slip and fall injuries.
In general, a business owner is responsible for the sidewalk and parking lot. In Dumas v. Tripps of North Carolina, Inc., the Georgia Court of Appeals stated that "the accumulation of naturally occurring ice does not negate an owner's duty to exercise ordinary care in inspecting the premises."
However, slip and fall cases can still be challenging in court. The claimant must show that the owner had knowledge of the hazard by presenting evidence. In some cases, such evidence can be difficult to obtain.
If you are a Georgia business owner, make sure your employees watch out for ice in coming days. It’s your responsibility to keep your customers safe.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, take photos, get names and numbers of witnesses, and collect any possible evidence - and call an experienced Georgia premises liability attorney as soon as possible. An experienced slip and fall attorney will know how to collect the evidence that is essential for you to win your case and claim your award.
Follow these icy slip and fall safety tips to prevent unnecessary injuries:
Be very careful near storefronts and store entrances. Heavy traffic areas tend to become slick with water, ice, and mud. Remember, property owners have an obligation to keep these areas dry and warn customers of dangerous conditions, but sometimes property owners are negligent. This type of negligence can lead to serious injuries.
Wear shoes with good traction when you're out walking in snow and ice. Don't wear shoes with slick bottoms. If you have to wear dress shoes at work, take them with you and change shoes once you get to work. Before you enter a building, knock the snow and ice off your shoes.
Slow down! Walk slowly. Take your time, take small steps, and pay attention to your environment. Watch out for icy spots and look before you take a step.
Choose your path carefully. Take the shortest route to your destination, and avoid shaded areas, as they are more likely to be slick with ice.
If you own a business or property, you might want to consider spreading some sand in front of your entrance. Of course, you might have a big clean-up job ahead of you, but that’s better than a customer getting injured by slipping and falling on your property.
If you do happen to slip and fall in front of a business, you may want to apologize or say something like, "I'm so clumsy!" Resist this temptation. Such a statement could cost you compensation in court. Remember, store owners have a duty to keep their sidewalks and parking lots clear of dangerous snow and ice. If you need legal advice about a slip and fall injury, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.