Chicagoans are all too familiar with the slippery and wet conditions that are present during the winter months. Snow, slush, ice and water dominate the walking surface conditions virtually everywhere we go and the population relies heavily on the City and the store and property owners to make those walking conditions safe for us.
Whether you are a tenant in an apartment building or visiting the local mall or grocery store you are going to have to navigate snow and ice in the winter. Some of these hazards are created because gutters, drainage systems to buildings and burst pipes will force water into walking paths and form ice. Other incidents can occur where property owners and condo developments take steps to remove snow and ice to make walking conditions better however these efforts, when done improperly, can at times create additional hazards.
Very often store and property owners contract with snow removal companies to remove snow and ice and any negligence that may have caused your accident could be the joint responsibility of the property owner and the snow removal company which you are unaware of. The majority of slip and falls involving snow and ice on public properties takes place within the parking lot or garage area. Clearly this is the place where the snow removal company does its work. This area includes, but is not limited to, driveways, ramps alleyways and loading dock areas.
As you can imagine, unlike a pothole or a missing handrail, the unsafe ice or snow conditions that caused your fall could change within hours or your fall and will surely be altered overnight so make sure to take pictures of the condition which caused your fall. Do not hesitate to take a video of the condition as well. Photo’s might be great in capturing the condition, but if the ice formation was due to a leaking drain pipe or gutter than a video showing the ongoing leakage is most helpful in proving your case.
Further, as to large parking lots where snow removal companies create large towering snow deposits, these hills of snow need to be placed so as to now obstruct driver and pedestrian visibility and should never be placed near sidewalks or frequented walking areas where melted snow from the hill will form ice in the walking paths.
Slip and fall cases require immediate investigation and attention. The accident needs to be reported to the property owner right away and an accident report should be generated by the property owner which provides you with the details and specifics of your fall. Getting the pertinent information as to the time and date of the fall, the conditions which you feel caused your fall and the names of any witnesses are critical. Also, as we said above, take pictures.
The initial times frame following your accident is really important in terms of the investigation and getting you the medical attention you need. We are here to answer all of your questions and there is no charge for the advice. Our lawyers know how to proceed following your case so your rights to a recovery are maximized so call us at (312) 422-0500 and get the information and guidance you need.