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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2001 4:21 pm 
Person leaves apartment building, slips and falls on the ice, getting injured in the process. Is the apartment complex liable to pick up the medical bills, or is approaching them like walking on thin ice?

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Allen Moulton from Uechi-ryu Etcetera


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2001 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 6:01 am
Posts: 51
Location: Climax, MI U.S.A.
<Common sense on>

I know it would never happen but personally, I'd like to see the guy pick himself up and realize that he should have watched where he was walking, instead of suing someone because there was ice there.

<Common sense off>


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2001 7:13 pm 
You are right, Jcseer. That the guy should just get up, brush the sand off, and go about his own business.

However the question is not about suing for bux, rather a fact-finding mission to help discover who is responsible for picking up the hospital and doctor bills.

This occurred in an apartment complex. Does the apartment complex's insurance policy kick in, and if it doesn't, what is the next step? Those are the real questions.

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Allen Moulton from Uechi-ryu Etcetera


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2001 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 6:01 am
Posts: 51
Location: Climax, MI U.S.A.
It's been acknowledged by my landlord that he is the one legally responsible for the removal of snow/ice, etc., in regards to our lease. If he fails to do so, and an injury occurs, yes, I'd say he could be held financially liable.

But I'm no lawyer.


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2001 10:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 493
Location: Framingham, MA USA
Falling as the result of slipping on the ice is as complex matter.

As stated in replies to Allen's post, the person who is owed a duty to have the ice clear such as a tenant is in a pretty good position to be able to collect, for damages such as pain & suffering & Medical bills.

Most cities or towns with apartments on main streets require owners to clear the way.

In some cases there my be no duty to protect you from the NATURAL accumulation of ice and snow.

It is when the snow is shoveled or drains leak onto walkways and become icy, that the liability begins to accrue.

You also run into the practical decision of whether or not the owner is liable for negligence for failure to clear the ice and snow based on a time line. I don't think that in the midst of a night time blizzard there would, in the absence of a specific contract, be a duty to keep walk ways constantly clean during the height of the storm.

There can be liability of a municipality depending on the facts, to clear ice and snow and a short time factor to make claim.

Fall down cases can be tough because the burden of proof of negligence can sometimes be hard to establish.

If I walk by your store on a downtown sidewalk and fall on my bum we have to determine if the city or town is liable and also the store owner and landlord.

If I shovel a walk and scrape it clean after a snow fall and leave a residue of unsalted ice on the surface, I am liable for creating an un natural accumulation of ice.

If you slip on the ice on my walk and the ice is a natural accumulation, in the absence of a duty to you as a stranger, then this might be called a Vis Maja (act of God).

Seldom are there easy answers in the law when plain simple facts are presented.

Alan K


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2001 10:54 pm 
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
If I shovel a walk and scrape it clean after a snow fall and leave a residue of unsalted ice on the surface, I am liable for creating an un natural accumulation of ice.
This may be a key to the answer. Plus gutters were removed from the buildings several years ago, and water rolls off the rooves and collects onto the walkways, "puddling up," and then freezes when it gets cold enough.

Thanks, guys.

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Allen Moulton from Uechi-ryu Etcetera


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1476
Location: Halifax, NS Canada
Don't know about the US but up here home-owners and landlords have a legal responsibility to make sure their property is safe. In the winter that means snow and ice removal. Halifax doles out fines for folks who do not remove snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their property. I would say that, yes, the landlord/home-owner would definitely be responsible.


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2001 12:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 30409
Excellent post by our counselor,Alan K.!

From a claims rep's perspective, I agree with Alan totally. There is a notice requirement to a municipality and to a landlord after the fall, that might be critical in sustaining an action.

As Alan explains, the locus of the fall must be pinpointed to determine who is in control and what duties are owed to the injured party, and what was the status of the party at the time of the fall.

The unnatural accumulation is what does a landlord in. Comparative negligence on the part of the claimant can be argued but at times the injured party gets dumped unaware because the "condition" is covered by a thin layer of fresh snow that makes it look safe, and because he has no other alternative but to walk over the ice such as in a parking lot.

The owner of the premises can also be found liable if snow and ice cover up a defective condition of the pavement.

If the owner's insurance coverage has medical payments coverage, then the bills, up to a small limit, can be paid regardless of the liability picture.

If the injury occurs on the premises of an employer, the claimant has the opportunity to file for worker's compensation and or bring suit against a third party contractor, if any, who was responsible to clear and sand the lot and common walk areas.


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Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited March 15, 2001).]


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 Post subject: A slippery thought.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2001 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 493
Location: Framingham, MA USA
Good summary of ice slip liability Van, sensei.

I might have to appoint you as junior counsel!

A lot of the law applicable to ice & snow related matters is also present in fall down cases relating to defects in stairs, surfaces, slippery substances in super markets and the like.

A lot depends on the evidentiary aspects such as was the defect or substance there long enough so that it should have been prudently detected.

I think that is where you fit into the scheme of things, including fraud cases of phantom falls.

We could do a lot on this one if time permitted. The reported cases are legion.

I am sure you could tell a lot from your own experiences.

Alan K


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