Those of us who live in Connecticut are used to brutal winters and navigating through ice and snow both in our cars and on foot. However, we expect the roads as well as sidewalks, walkways, outdoor steps and other areas to be cleared as soon as possible.
These areas can be especially dangerous, even when people have the proper footwear. Slips and falls on icy, hard surfaces can cause head injuries, broken bones and other serious consequences.
Understandably, trying to shovel or pour sand or salt on these areas in the middle of a snowfall can be futile. At what point are Connecticut property owners liable for having dangerous conditions that result in injuries?
Local ordinances vary
Cities and counties throughout Connecticut often have their own ordinances regarding how soon ice and snow need to be removed. For example, an ordinance may require that this be done within a day or even less after snow has stopped falling or has frozen. It may give property owners a little more time if the precipitation stopped overnight. At the very least, property owners should spread something on the ice to melt it or make it less slippery if they can’t remove it.
Every situation is unique. However, if you’ve suffered injuries after falling on a slippery or snow-packed surface that you believe the property owner neglected, it’s important not to sign away your rights if they hand you a liability waiver or to say anything that can be interpreted as taking blame for it, like “I’m such a klutz” or “I really wore the wrong shoes today.” Further, don’t accept a quick settlement offer until you know the full extent of your injuries. A good first step is to get some legal guidance.