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Who is liable when ice causes a slip-and-fall accident?

With frigid temperatures and a constant threat of snow and ice, winters in West Virginia can be brutal. Most people who have been through at least one winter in the Charleston area know that the weather this time of year can make for treacherous driving conditions. But, in addition to wreaking havoc on drivers, the winter snow and ice can make walking anywhere a challenge.

When the snow and ice comes during the winter, it can make slip-and-fall accidents a common problem for people walking both outdoors and indoors. At a commercial place like a grocery store, for example, people walking through snow or water outside can track it inside the building. This can make for a wet floor, which can cause a slip-and-fall accident just as easily as if someone were to slip on a piece of ice in the parking lot.

Any kind of slip-and-fall accident can lead to serious injuries, which can involve hefty medical bills and other expenses. This begs the question of who might be liable when ice or snow causes a slip-and-fall injury?

Property owners have a duty to maintain their property and to keep visitors safe from hazardous conditions on the property. However, this does not necessarily mean that they must protect people from natural dangers like snow and ice accumulation. On the other hand, if the owner take steps to remove the snow and ice, they must do so in a way that is not negligent.

In addition, if conditions on the property cause an unnatural buildup of snow or ice, the owner may be liable if that leads to a slip-and-fall injury. For example, if the surface is sloped in a way that causes water to pool and then turn into ice, the owner may incur liability if someone gets hurt from falling on that ice.

Winter can be a difficult time of the year for West Virginians. They should take all appropriate precautions to keep themselves safe. Likewise, property owners must also take necessary action to keep people on their property safe, which may include clearing snow and ice from the property.

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