It snows all the time in Colorado, right? Sometimes just flurries, sometimes after a sunny blue-bird day, sometimes only on one side of the road, and sometimes even in June. Because it happens all the time, falls caused by snow and ice should be assumed, shouldn’t they? And anyone who falls after slipping on snow and ice does not have a claim for their injuries, right?
According to the Enjuris, 15% of all accidental deaths are due to slip and falls. Non-fatal falls account for over one million emergency room visits annually.
Falls due to snow and ice can cause more serious injuries than other falls. Ice can cause the body to pick up momentum, lacking a coefficient of friction like the gritty surface of a sidewalk or treated staircase. Impacts will feel much harder and can shatter bone.
Although snow and ice is a common part of living in Colorado, property owners still have a responsibility to protect guests on their property. The Premises Liability Act mandates that property owners take all reasonable measures to warn guests of snow and ice dangers and take action to remediate the conditions. Things like ice melt, salt, and sand should be spread on icy property, particularly in areas where guests are likely to walk. Snow piles should be shoveled away from high-traffic areas. Weather warning systems should be in place so staff can prepare surfaces for potentially slick conditions. And regular checks of sidewalks and stairs should be scheduled regularly to make sure treated areas are safe.
The simple fact that it snows often in a Colorado winter… or spring… does not excuse the negligence of a property owner. Their responsibilities to guests do not dissolve simply because this is a mountainous state with white Christmases and ample powder.
However, like most cases involving falls, these can be very expert-heavy. It takes a licensed and experienced professional to fully investigate the property, the conditions at the time of the fall, and the weather conditions up to and during the snowfall to determine whether the property owner maintained the industry’s best practices and safety standards. These cases also require legal help from attorneys experienced in this specific type of fall. While all fall cases require a particular expertise, snow and ice cases require even more specialized experience than most.
If you or a loved one have been injured from a fall on snow or in icy conditions, let us take the reigns. We will get our team of experts and staff to analyze the property, photos of the conditions at the time of your fall, weather data, and run-off dangers to collect all the evidence needed to pursue your case. You are not like all the others, and neither is your case. We will treat it like it is important, because you are.