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Every winter brings ice, sleet and snow to the Northeast and a flurry of slip-and-fall accidents. Wintry weather means slippery roads, sidewalks and parking lots across New Jersey. Unfortunately, property owners, business owners and occupants often do not properly remove snow and ice, or apply salt or de-icing agents to make their property safe for their tenants, customers or the general public. Storekeepers and malls have an obligation to make reasonable inspections of their premises and warn visitors of the risks of slipping and falling on slippery surfaces. Sometimes snow removal companies don’t do their job in a timely fashion. As a result, people suffer avoidable slip-and-fall injuries caused by ice and snow.

The average low temperatures in December, January and February in New Jersey are at or below freezing. Any precipitation that falls or snow that melts during the day will freeze overnight, creating icy patches and treacherous footing. Ideally, property owners should remove snow immediately before it melts and turns to ice. Property owners are required to remove snow within a certain period of time after a snowfall. When storeowners do not clear ice created by thawing or they fail to put down sand and salt, they may be accountable when customers or passersby fall and suffer injuries. In some cases, a snow removal company may be liable for failing to clear a parking lot or sidewalk.

In ice and snow, it’s a good idea to resist the temptation to run to catch a bus or rush across an icy street or parking lot to beat oncoming traffic. Slow down.  It’s better to take short, shuffling steps and keep your hands out of your pockets for balance. Think of it as ice and snow safety. Even if you act cautiously, you may still fall on a slippery driveway, sidewalk or parking lot.

Although ice and snow can cause a person to slip and lose their balance, the snow or ice may not br the sole cause of that accident. Quite often, stairs and steps may be in a state of disrepair, they may lack handrails or there may be insufficient lighting. Stairs may be constructed at a dangerous pitch making them extremely hazardous especially when water freezes and ice forms. Potholes in parking lots can be concealed by accumulated snow and ice also causing an innocent customer to slip and fall.

If you take a spill on ice, your injuries can range in severity from minor bruising and strained muscles to a severe fracture, head injury, spinal cord injury or brain injury. You may be unable to work for an extended period of time, even as the medical bills pile up.

New Jersey premises liability law addresses slip and fall accidents. Accidents involving ice and snow are very fact specific as to the liability of the property owner, occupant or a third party.
I have helped many people injured in falls on ice and snow.  If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in ice or snow caused by the negligence of another, contact me, attorney Karim Arzadi, for a free consultation by calling 
1-800-RITELAW
or 732-442-5900. Be careful and stay warm.

Karim

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