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Who Is Responsible for Keeping Sidewalks Free of Ice and Snow?

February 1, 2021

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Ohio’s winters can be harsh, and cold temperatures don’t just mean unpleasant walks to and from your vehicle. They also mean the possibility of ice and snow on the ground. Most people think of ice and snow as being primarily dangerous for drivers, but they can also be dangerous for pedestrians.

Let’s face it—most of us have slipped and either fallen or lost our balance when walking on ice. Winter weather falls can be extremely painful and even dangerous, especially for older adults.

Sidewalks are everywhere in Ohio’s biggest cities, including Cleveland, but they’re also in smaller cities and towns. So, when someone slips and falls on an icy sidewalk, who was responsible for making it safe—and who can be held liable?

How Responsibility is Determined in Sidewalk Slip and Fall Cases

Determining who might be responsible for a specific location where someone slips and falls on ice in Ohio is only part of the process when it comes to filing a compensation claim. Ohio property owners are typically NOT liable for injuries caused by hazards that are considered “open and obvious” to a reasonable person. That means that if ice and snow have clearly and obviously accumulated on a sidewalk and can be avoided by pedestrians, the property owner is unlikely to be held liable for injuries.

However, that doesn’t mean no one can ever be held liable for slips and falls that occur on sidewalks due to ice and snow. For example, injured pedestrians may be able to file compensation claims against property owners after negligent attempts to clear ice and snow, especially if the process resulted in hidden hazards that would have otherwise been noticeable (i.e., snow that’s shoveled onto an existing hazard that becomes hidden to pedestrians).

What Damages Are Available to Injured Pedestrians?

Slipping and falling on ice isn’t just embarrassing—it can be extremely painful and disabling. People who fall are at risk of broken bones, torn ligaments, and even spinal cord and head injuries. When you file a premises liability claim after a fall, you may be eligible for the following types of compensation:

  • Medical bills—Fall victims often need immediate medical attention, including ambulance transportation, broken bone treatment, overnight stays in the hospital, and even surgery. These bills can be enormous, especially if you don’t have health insurance.
  • Lost wages—It can be difficult or even impossible to work after an ice-related slip and fall injury. Breaking a bone in your leg or foot can mean you can’t walk or stand up, while breaking your arm or hand can mean you can’t use a computer. That means lost paychecks that you depend on.
  • Pain and suffering—Falls are painful. They can lead to debilitating pain that can persist for months, years, or even a lifetime. When victims experience severe pain, their quality of life can significantly diminish, and they deserve compensation for that loss.

Let Us Help You Get the Money You’re Owed

Ice and snow can be dangerous for pedestrians, but simply slipping and falling on ice doesn’t necessarily mean that victims can get compensation. However, if you or someone you love were injured due to a hazard that was created by the negligent clearing of ice and snow, you may be eligible for compensation.

All slip and fall cases are different, and it can help to have an experienced attorney on your side to review the facts of what happened and determine if you have a claim and how much compensation you may be eligible to receive. Contact the legal team at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy today for a free consultation. We know what you’re going through, and we want to get you every penny you deserve.

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