There’s no maximum amount of ice and snow that’s illegal. Rather, property owners and maintenance crews must keep a watchful eye and then clean it up in a timely manner.
Snow, particularly, accumulates, and as many in Connecticut see year after year, not clearing it away turns a flat pavement or asphalt into a slippery, uneven surface.
Ice, even more so, presents additional dangers. It’s not so much that water freezes or ice melts and then refreezes, but rather that it nearly always has a thin layer of water on top.
Scientists haven’t yet arrived at a clear explanation for this. Rather, some theories, such as pressure melting, indicate that when a person, either through walking or skating on ice, exerts a certain amount of pressure per square inch, the ice’s melting temperature drops. What results is, essentially, a double hazard: an already-slippery surface with a slight coating of water on top.
Data examining slips and falls from ice and snow in the workplace indicates that most injuries happen on outdoor surfaces. While many slips or falls result in a minor bruise or cut, the force at which someone hits the ground or height at which someone falls significantly makes the injury more severe.
What could result are:
- Back, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Muscle strains
- Cuts and bruises
- Spinal cord damage
- Torn muscles and ligaments
How Much is Too Much?
Considering that even a moderate coating of ice on the pavement could lead to an injury, what is a property owner to do?
Those managing and maintaining the premises of a building, facility, or home have a legal duty of care to keep the area, including the sidewalk and parking lot, safe and free of hazards. Ice and snow get enveloped into this, but how much and how soon it’s removed come down to circumstance.
Within your business’ plan, it’s expected that you consider:
- Addressing ice and snowfall during the day.
- Cleaning the premises before the business opens.
- Knowing that ice and snow can melt and refreeze, exacerbating a hazard in the process.
If you end up slipping outside of a business or home, make sure to document the evidence, either through photos or video. As the scene may be cleared when you decide to come back later, capturing it then and there displays just how much had built up and the degree to which it turned into a hazard.
When you’re facing mounting medical bills and time off from work, all because you slipped on icy pavement and sustained an injury, don’t just take a financial hit. Get Trantolo & Trantolo’s team of slip and fall lawyers involved. Contact any of our Connecticut locations today to present your claim.