Slip and Fall on Black Ice in a Store Parking Lot – Can I Sue?
Recovering Compensation After Trip, Slip and Fall Accident
Many slip and fall accidents only result in minor injuries that heal on their own. When this happens, the injured party will not find it necessary to initiate litigation. However, when a slip and fall accident on black ice leads to serious injuries, it may be possible to recover compensation from the owner of the property where the accident occurred.
What Is the Applicable Duty of Care?
Slip and fall accidents give rise to a type of legal claim called a premises liability claim. One of the primary issues in any premises liability claim is the duty of care that the owner of the property owed to the person who was injured on their property. The duty of care that is owed depends on the status of the injured party. In most slip and fall accidents that occur in store parking lots, the injured party is considered an invitee of the store or property owner, which means the owner owes the highest duty of care to exercise reasonable care to correct all dangerous conditions of the property or disclose the existence of such conditions that the owner knows or should know of, unless the invitee should have reasonably discovered of the condition on his or her own. In many slip and fall lawsuits, the property or store owner will try to demonstrate that he, she or it took reasonable measures to protect customers and guests.
Elements of Negligence
Premises liability claims are often a form of negligence claim. There are four elements to prove in order to establish a person’s or entity’s negligence. First, the allegedly at-fault party must have owed the injured party a duty of care. As noted above, property or store owners owe customers or guest a duty of care to correct dangerous conditions or disclose their existence. Next, the owner must have breached the applicable duty of care through some act or omission. Furthermore, this breach must have been the direct and proximate cause of the injured party’s injuries. Finally, the injured party must have suffered some form of compensable damages as a result of the accident.
Exercising Reasonable Care
In the context of slip and fall accidents caused by black ice in store parking lots, a property or store owner can demonstrate the exercise of reasonable care by taking steps to prevent the formation of black ice and removing black ice that has formed as soon as the owner is made aware of it. For example, the owner (or a company contracted by the owner) can try to chip or break up black ice spots or put down salt to melt black ice or sand to prevent slips. Many times, a case will turn on whether a property or store owner should have reasonably discovered or known of black ice before the injured party’s accident and whether the owner had sufficient time to remove the ice.
The Natural Accumulation Rule
In some states, courts apply what is known as the natural accumulation rule in slip-and-fall cases caused by black ice. The natural accumulation rule recognizes that black ice will form as a result of a snow or ice storm. The rule is meant to give property or store owners sufficient time following a storm to remove accumulations of ice. If a person is injured by slipping and falling on ice during a snow or ice storm or immediately after the storm, the rule will not impose liability upon the property or store owner.
Contact Drazin & Warshaw in Red Bank, Hazlet, or Brick to Discuss Your Personal Injury Matter
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a slip-and-fall accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Drazin and Warshaw, P.C. represent clients injured because of slip-and-fall accidents in Ocean Township, Lacey Township, Eatontown, Long Branch, Toms River and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 747-3730 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 25 Reckless Pl., Red Bank, NJ 07701, as well as offices in Hazlet and Brick.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.