Heavy snow expected in Detroit – Watch where you’re going!

street-g885590182_640-300x300Winter storm warnings have been issued for the northern part of Michigan. In the Detroit Metro area, 6 to 9 inches of snow were expected on Wednesday. Motorists have been urged to reduce speed and drive carefully, but pedestrians are also at risk during severe weather episodes. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable when walking down icy or snow-packed sidewalks. At a certain age, a slip and fall can be a death sentence for an elderly person. Some may never recover from a hip fracture and will require long-term medical assistance. Who is liable for their damages?

Detroit business owners must clear the snow from their sidewalks

According to a local ordinance, Detroit residents and business owners are required to clear the snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours of the accumulation. This is very important for pedestrians and those waiting for public transit. 

Detroit property owners are not allowed to put snow on public roads or on the shoulder of the roadway obstructing the safety vision of a driver. They are also required to apply salt, sand, or other approved material to prevent slip and fall accidents.

When can you sue a business owner for a slip and fall in Detroit?

Premises liability cases include all types of accidents caused by the negligence of the property owner. If you or a loved one were injured in such an accident you need to contact experienced Detroit personal injury lawyers right away. 

To win damages you must prove that the property owner was negligent. If the sidewalk in front of the store is covered with packed snow and you break a leg after a fall, you have the right to seek damages from the property owner. Yet, to prove negligence your lawyers will have to show that the owner knew or should have known of the peril.

Here are two examples:

  • Citizen A slips on the sidewalk in front of the local deli. It’s been snowing all morning and there are already 2 inches of snow on the sidewalk. Is the store owner liable for damages? Probably not. If there’s a winter storm, a property owner cannot be expected to shovel snow all day long in a vain effort to keep the sidewalk clear and safe. And the law does give him 24 hours to clear the accumulated snow.
  • Citizen B also slips and falls in front of his favorite coffee shop. It stopped snowing the night before, but the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop is still covered in snow. Technically, it hasn’t been 24 hrs since it stopped snowing so the owner is not in violation of city ordinances. However, since the place opened up in the morning, several customers slipped on that sidewalk and complained to the owner. This proves that the owner was aware the premises were unsafe and did nothing to prevent accidents. The same applies if the floor in the shop is wet due to a water leak or several people complained the stairs are poorly-lit.

When a property owner knows or should have known of a safety hazard they can be held accountable for damages.

Have you been injured in a slip and fall? 

If you or a loved one were injured in a slip and fall, the experienced attorneys at the Neumann Law Group can help. Our personal injury attorneys are skilled and experienced at proving liability for injuries caused by the negligence of a property owner. Through our dedicated representation, we have secured significant compensation for our injured clients and their families. To learn more and schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at 800-525-6386.

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