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Another New England winter is upon us, complete with snow, ice and freezing rain that make for dangerously slippery conditions on sidewalks, parking lots and other pedestrian areas. Removing snow and ice is part of the general legal obligation to exercise ordinary care to keep properties safe. If you slip and fall on property where snow or ice have not been properly cleared, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.
When snow and ice accumulate on a driveway, sidewalk, stairs, or other walkways the property owner or occupant has the responsibility to clear the area. When a property is occupied by someone other than the owner, the occupant may be responsible for clearing the snow because they are on site and in the best position to do so. Even in those circumstances, however, the owner may retain a non-delegable duty to maintain the premises.
Many Connecticut towns and cities have ordinances spelling out how and when snow and ice removal is to be carried out. Hamden, for example, requires that snow and ice be removed by the person responsible for the property within 24 hours from the time the precipitation stops. If it cannot be removed, then sand or salt must be spread to help ensure pedestrian safety. Violators of the ordinance can be fined up to $100 per day. Some towns require removal in less than 24 hours and some impose higher fines.
However, even if a property owner or occupant is in violation of a town ordinance, that alone will not be enough for a slip-and-fall victim to prevail in a personal injury case. They must still show that there was a failure to exercise ordinary care in snow and ice removal, which depends on all the facts of the case. Notably, while property owners and occupants are required to clear away snow and ice, they are not expected to be out there shoveling in the middle of a snow event. Connecticut courts recognize the “ongoing storm doctrine,” which gives the responsible party a reasonable time after the storm has ended to clear the snow and ice.
Owners and occupants of commercial properties often hire snow removal companies to clear their parking lots and nearby walkways. In these situations, Connecticut law still places ultimate responsibility on the owner or occupant. They cannot use contract language to shift legal liability for injuries onto the snowplow company.
If you were injured in a slip and fall on snow or ice, you may be entitled to compensation. You’ll want to speak with a Connecticut personal injury lawyer about the situation. A lawyer can provide an assessment of your claim, help determine which parties could bear responsibility, and start building your case.
The attorneys of Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. have recovered monetary damages for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering on behalf of clients who were injured in winter slip-and-falls across Connecticut. To speak with one of our Hamden or East Haven lawyers, call 203-745-0942 or contact us online.
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Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. is located in Hamden, CT and serves clients in and around North Haven, Hamden, Waterbury, Bethany, Milford, Wallingford, Prospect, Woodbridge, Northford, Madison, Beacon Falls, Branford, Cheshire, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, Ansonia and New Haven County.
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