We at the Groth Law Firm are no strangers to harsh Wisconsin winters. Collectively, our law firm has weathered decades upon decades of snowy Wisconsin weather. We are also intimately familiar with the winter slip and fall accidents that occur around this time. We know the dangers of walking around outside in icy, slippery conditions. “Black ice” refers to transparent ice that can be difficult to see, and easy to slip on. Although most such falls result in little more than embarrassment and inconvenience, some slip and falls can have disastrous, life-altering consequences and life-altering injuries.
While bumps and bruises are one thing, fractures, head injuries, and other trauma should be treated as the serious injuries that they are. Since insurance companies are in the business of often denying slip and fall claims, you need skilled legal assistance to help you fight for the compensation and justice that you deserve.
What Are Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents are broadly defined as accidents that occur when you are walking in an area that has a dangerous condition, like snow or ice, that causes a fall, and then subsequent injuries. Oftentimes, we see these accidents occur in un-shoveled parking lots, inadequately salted sidewalks, and in other places of business where the owners are negligent. State law requires both homeowners and business owners alike to keep their premises free from dangerous conditions that may cause such accidents. Although Wisconsin weather is unpredictable, the law still requires people to keep their property safe. A failure to clear snow and ice can give rise to a valid claim against their homeowner, or business insurance.
What Should I Do After A Slip and Fall Accident?
If you are involved in a slip and fall type accident, there are a few facts you should be aware of. As the old adage states, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Due to the inherently temporary nature of ice and snow, documentation of hazardous conditions can be the difference between having a case and not having a case. Even though snapping a picture after a bad fall may be difficult, or in some cases, impossible, try to have a trusted family or friend photograph that hazardous condition as soon after the fall as possible. After reports of a fall, or multiple falls on their premises, many business owners will quickly seek to address the hazardous condition so that it appears as though they were not negligent in the first place.
Act quickly and take pictures of unsalted, uncleared walkways and sidewalks immediately when possible. Beyond this, if your fall occurs at a place of business, you should report the incident to management. Many times, when we reach out to negligent business owners due to a fall that occurred on their property, this is their first notice of our client’s injuries. Making a full and complete account of your fall to management or staff can help preserve early evidence of your claim.
How The Groth Law Firm Can Help With Your Case
Slip and fall cases are based on a foundational principle of civil law. The principal is that of negligence. In order to establish negligence, you must prove that a property owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care to you; that this duty of reasonable care was breached; and that the breach of the property owner was a direct and proximate cause of the slip and fall that resulted in your injuries. If you are able to prove the aforementioned, then you have a strong claim against the property owner. Once liability is established through this framework, the Groth Law Firm can fight for you and maximize your compensation.
Through a valid claim, you are entitled to various forms of compensation as an injured plaintiff. Typically, an injured person can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future care costs, and any other expenses that the injury and your recovery from the injury incurred. If the injury you receive from the slip and fall requires care in the future or is permanent, you will want to consider the cost of that future care as part of your claim. The Groth Law Firm has experience in helping injured people prepare for future care by fighting for additional compensation for you.
Experience matters and you want an attorney who has litigated complex, multi-layered cases to ensure that you are receiving every dollar you are entitled to. In addition to maximizing your compensation, Groth Law Firm utilizes a team of investigators throughout the state. This advantage can make a critical difference in your slip and fall case. If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall or other accident, do not hesitate to call on the day of the injury. Some evidence needs to be preserved immediately, and we can send someone from our team to the scene of the injury on that very day. In addition to preserving evidence, there are often challenges associated with finding the correct defendant in these cases. If you slip and fall in a large parking lot of a mall for instance, who is the responsible party? Is it mall ownership? The store in front of where you fell? Perhaps it’s a snow removal company that you’ve never heard of before. These challenges are common to slip and fall cases in the winter.
These challenges are common to slip and fall cases in the winter, and they are compounded by the possibility that you may have been injured on a public-owned or government property. If that is the case, certain notice documents must be filed. Many such notices are extremely time-sensitive, and if you do not file in the required time period, you may be forever barred from receiving any compensation, no matter how negligent the defendant may be. Some entities may be so complex or hidden that you may have to name a “John Doe” defendant in a potential lawsuit. Experience matters in these cases. You want to hire a law firm that is skilled, dedicated, and has a proven track record in slip and fall cases. Your case needs individual and prompt attention. At Groth Law Firm your case is not just another number. You can expect daily access to a full staff of attorneys, paralegals, investigators, and law clerks.
Winter Slip and Fall Accident Prevention
Many of these accidents can be avoided if some businesses and homeowners just paid a little more attention. As we mentioned earlier, in the state of Wisconsin the responsibility falls on property owners to clear snow and ice and ensure that there are safe walking conditions around their property. However, there are things that individuals can do on their own to reduce their odds of experiencing a winter slip and fall accident. In many ways, this would be the winter slip and fall equivalent of being a defensive driver.
Some of these tips may be regarded as simple, or as common knowledge. However, we have found that it helps to remind yourself of some of these tips every so often. Here are a few of the things you can do to help prevent a winter slip and fall accident:
- Keep a close watch on the weather forecast, especially as it might be prone to slight, but significant, changes throughout the day. This can be done by utilizing smartphone weather applications if you have access to them.
- Stay vigilant and be wary of black ice forming, this tends to occur once the first layer of snow melts. However, though melting may occur it might not be warm enough for everything to melt away. This is usually why patches of black ice pop up.
- Always try your best to ensure that you are wearing adequate footwear for winter conditions. This minimizes the risk of you slipping and falling on black ice or in other hazardous winter conditions. Ideal footwear includes slip-resistant boots and anything that has enough grip to keep you steady.
- Stay aware of your surroundings, especially as you enter and exit buildings. In the winter months, there is a higher chance that small pools of water form indoors, especially in places with high foot traffic. This occurrence also leads to an increased rate of slip and falls. So take the time to avoid puddles and wet spots indoors.
Accidents happen, but negligent accidents can be prevented. If you are involved in a slip and fall accident and do not know where to start, let us help you. The Groth Law Firm staff is available any day of the week and offers a free consultation regarding your potential case.