There are a number of factors that must be considered in slip and fall cases, including the presence of adverse weather conditions. It is true that bad weather can play a major role in a premises liability case, which is why a victim who slipped and fell on someone else’s property must consult with an experienced slip and fall accident attorney to understand their legal options.
Adverse Weather Conditions That Contribute to Slip and Fall Accidents
Some bad weather conditions are likely to contribute to slipping and falling:
- Black ice
- Wet debris or leaves
- Slippery surfaces
- Rainy puddles
- Water buildup
How Bad Weather Impacts Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
In some cases, adverse weather conditions could impact the victim’s ability to hold the property owner responsible for their slip and fall injuries. Under NJ Rev Stat § 2A:42A-8.1, all property owners who allow public access have an obligation to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions.
When a property owner could not take any reasonable steps to prevent a dangerous condition from causing harm to visitors or customers, they cannot be held liable for the victim’s injury. For example, if a visitor slips on ice because of adverse weather conditions, the owner of the property where the accident occurred may not be held liable for the injury if the owner was unaware of the dangerous condition and could not have taken reasonable steps to remove the danger.
How Property Owners Could Use Weather to Avoid Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
Premises liability law requires individuals to use extra caution during periods of adverse weather conditions to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. Thus, when a visitor slips and falls on someone else’s property, the owner of the property may argue that the visitor failed to exercise due care in bad weather.
New Jersey follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. Under NJ Rev Stat § 2A:15-5.1, an injured party’s compensation is reduced in proportion to their own degree of fault.
Therefore, while property owners have a duty to protect their visitors and customers from harm and eliminate weather-related hazards, bad weather can be used as a defense to avoid liability for a slip and fall accident.
How to Reduce the Risk of a Slip and Fall Accident in Bad Weather?
While property owners have an obligation to eliminate weather-related hazards to prevent slip and fall accidents, visitors must take safety precautions to reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
Follow these tips to prevent slip and fall injuries in bad weather:
- Wear slip-resistant shoes
- Look before you step
- Use handrails when walking on stairs outside or inside
- Use a flashlight when walking in poorly lit places
- Always stay vigilant
- Put down your phone when walking in bad weather
- Stay inside when the weather outside becomes unsafe
Adverse weather conditions can impact liability in slip and fall cases, which is why it is advised to hire an experienced lawyer to help you recover damages from the negligent property owner. Here at Lomurro, Munson, Comer, Brown & Schottland, LLC, our Freehold slip and fall lawyers will review your particular situation to determine liability in your weather-related accident. Call at 732-414-0300 for a consultation.