With the severe winter weather that recently swept through Kentucky, Kentuckians and those visiting the bluegrass were confronted with dangerous conditions from ice and snow. It is often impossible to predict Kentucky’s weather from one day to the next—especially in the winter months. Ice and snow can create very dangerous conditions with parking lots, sidewalks, stairs and other walkways exposed to the elements.
So what should you do if you slip and fall on someone else’s property and have sustained an injury? If you believe you have been injured or if you sustain an obvious injury, it is important to go to the doctor as soon possible not only to document how and when the fall occurred, but also to begin your treatment and assess your injuries. If your injuries are not documented in a medical record, it can make pursuing any potential claim much more difficult.
Land owners and operators open to the public in Kentucky have a general duty to ensure their premises are reasonably safe and to provide such safeguards against injury from ice and/or snow as any ordinarily prudent owner and operator would under the same or similar circumstances. In other words, owners and operators have the responsibility to take steps necessary to remove any known dangerous conditions on the premises.
Often times, a third-party snow removal company has been hired to take on the responsibility of eliminating dangerous conditions which may arise on the property. Like with any industry, the skill and attention to detail for third-party snow removal companies can vary widely. These third-party contractors can range anywhere from a one man crew with insufficient equipment and assistance who attempts this type of work on the side all the way to professional snow removal companies using the industry’s best equipment who only do snow and ice removal. Despite this, the responsibility of land owners and operators along with any third-party contractor remains the same.
Standards for those working in the snow and ice removal industry exist and should be followed in an effort to establish best practices which result in safe property conditions. While these standards are not currently mandated under Kentucky law, they are (or at least should be) widely known across the snow and ice removal industry.
The injuries one might sustain from a slip and fall accident can often be significant with the additional potential to snowball into long-lasting serious injuries resulting in prolonged impairment. The most common injuries for people who fall on ice consist of muscle sprains and ligament strains, fractures, back and disc injuries, and head injuries which could cause a traumatic brain injury. The full prognosis is often not known right after the initial injuries, and instead it can take time to fully evaluate and determine the severity of the injuries.
In Kentucky, you will generally have one year from the date of your slip and fall injury to either resolve any premises liability claim you may have or to file a lawsuit to recover any damages. It is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible following your injury rather than at the end of any course of medical treatment in order to begin gathering and preserving as much evidence as possible. You can assist with this process by moving quickly after your injury to take photos of the scene and your injuries along with recording the names and contact information for any potential witnesses. Furthermore, many owners and operators of public places have policies and procedures in place requiring them to complete an incident report or to maintain other evidence such as surveillance video. Be sure to complete any incident reports with accurate information.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall on ice or snow or a slip and fall caused by a defect or obstruction in the property, call us toll free at 877-634-1519 or contact us at 859-252-4473 or 502-595-7955. To send information to one of our experienced trial lawyers about your potential claim, please use our online form. It is important to consult with an attorney prior to discussing any incident with the opposing party or their insurance company. Claims can be made for any type of slip, trip, or fall injuries and our attorneys at Varellas & Varellas can help pursue the damages you are entitled to receive.