BLOG NUMBER 19.6
Premises liability claims can be incredibly damaging to property owners. Whether you own residential or commercial property, you’re responsible for ensuring proper duty of care. This means taking all necessary steps to maintain common areas and floor surfaces that are hazard-free. In the cold months of winter, clearing away build-ups of ice and snow is essential for preventing dangerous slip and fall accidents, and all resulting injuries. To avoid liability issues, many building owners outsource this work to snow removal companies. These entities regularly clear slick, icy surfaces so that they can be safely and easily traversed by all parties. Sadly, however, even when property owners are incredibly diligent in this area, invited guests and other visitors can still sustain harm.
Although property owners have insurance that keeps them protected in the event of valid premises liability claims, these policies should not be leveraged for the payment of frivolous claims. Frivolous personal injury claims are especially prevalent during the winter months. Ice-covered terrain is a perfect opportunity for unethical individuals to take advantage of property owners. The good news is that a snow removal expert witness can help you fight claims like these. With in-depth, technical knowledge of snow removal techniques and requirements, this professional can assess the conditions of your property, and the details pertaining to individual slip and fall events. A snow removal expert witness then can apply specialized knowledge to prove that you’ve fulfilled your duty of care. In many instances, when proper maintenance has been performed, slip and fall events are entirely the result of negligence on the part of the injured individual.
When to Hire a Snow Removal Expert Witness
Premises liability laws exist to keep people protected from negligent property owners. When people own residential or commercial properties, they have a responsibility to make sure that these are suitably safe for anyone who might enter them. When a person gets harmed as the result of poor maintenance and general negligence, premises liability ensures that they won’t have to cover their own losses, medical bills, and other injury-related expenses. However, property owners have protections under these laws as well. Not every slip and fall accident is considered a covered event. After all, it wouldn’t be fair for building owners to spend large sums of money on snow and ice removal only to pay for claims resulting from negligent acts on the part of injured parties.
For instance, after having had your driveways, parking lots, walkways or other common areas shoveled and coated with de-icing agents, you may find that crossing these spaces still requires both caution and the willingness to move slowly. If someone enters your freshly shoveled property and bolts towards your front door, any resulting slip and fall accident could be his or her own fault. Just as property owners are responsible for keeping their grounds safe, individuals who visit these locations must take steps to protect themselves.
A snow removal expert can examine and present technical evidence to show that a person was moving too fast or engaging in otherwise unsafe activities on your grounds. These professionals can also examine weather conditions on the days of injury events and compare these to recorded snow removal schedules. Snow removal experts also have an in-depth knowledge of the standard practices for snow removal, and the standard tools, equipment, and de-icing agents that are used. They can determine how specific applications of brine or road salt have affected the safety of different surface types, and can share their reports in court or in arbitration meetings.
Without a snow removal expert witness assisting you with your premises liability claim, you may wind up paying for damages that you aren’t truly responsible for. Although attorneys are highly knowledgeable of premises liability law, their expertise rarely extends to the area of snow removal. If you’ve done your duty of care by diligently having snow removal performed, bringing a snow removal expert witness onto your legal team is the best way to prove it. If you’re facing a premises liability claim due to slip and fall injuries on your property, we can help. Call us today at (816) 564-9131.
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