We reached a settlement on behalf of a nurse who slipped and fell on a patch of ice while out for a morning walk with her husband, suffering a broken ankle.
In order to prevail in a slip-and-fall case involving a fall on snow or ice, you must prove that was caused the fall was an unnatural accumulation of snow or ice. This is often an insurmountable challenge.
When we were first hired, we went to the scene of the accident after a heavy rainfall, and saw that in the location where the client fell, there was a large mud puddle while all of the adjoining sidewalks were clean. Looking further, we could see that the dirt and grass on the yard next door had been washed away from water flowing out of the downspout from the gutters on the roof of the building where the client fell.
We obtained weather records which showed that for several days prior to the fall, temperatures had been above freezing, but had dropped down below freezing only during the last 12-18 hours before the client fell.
This is soldidied our working theory that what caused the client’s fall was water running down the lawn from the downspout and then freezing on the sidewalk in the location where the client fell. This made it an unnatural accumulation of ice for which the property owner could be held liable.
The insurance company initially denied liability, but when the defense lawyer was confronted with the evidence from our investigation and the testimony of our clients, he recommended settlement and the matter was quickly resolved.