In Michigan, the weather can turn pathways icy even before the thick of winter hits. Sometimes, businesses might miss these icy spots on their property, and that’s when someone can take a nasty slip and fall. According to Michigan law, it’s up to business owners and commercial property managers to keep these areas safe for their customers.
Understanding how pathways surrounding and leading to commercial businesses can get icy even without snowfall can help you avoid mishaps when you go shopping or out to eat. If you’ve taken a tumble outside a business because they didn’t handle an icy patch, our experienced Michigan slip and fall injury lawyers from Fieger Law can help you file a compensation claim.
Hazardous Conditions Where Ice Can Form Without Snow
Even without a visible layer of snow, various conditions can create slippery ice on walkways and paths. The issues listed below can impact pathways leading to places like malls, grocery stores, and eateries, posing a significant risk to patrons:
- Temperature fluctuations: Michigan’s weather is unpredictable, with fall and winter temperatures ranging from above freezing to well below. Even without snowfall, moisture from rain, sleet, or condensation can remain on the ground. When temperatures drop rapidly, this moisture can freeze, creating a hidden layer of ice on pathways.
- Snow melt and freezing rain: In Michigan, it’s not uncommon for a brief warm spell to occur during the winter. Any accumulated snow and ice will begin to melt when temperatures rise above freezing. However, as the sun sets or temperatures drop again, this melted snow can refreeze, forming a treacherous layer of ice.
- Roof and gutter issues: As snow accumulates on a business’s roof, it can melt due to heat escaping from the building. This melted snow then runs down the roof and into the gutters. Water can overflow and spill onto the pathways below if the gutters are clogged or damaged. The runoff can quickly freeze in cold temperatures, creating hazardous icy patches.
- Poor drainage: Poor drainage from the surrounding landscape or uneven surfaces can cause water accumulation on pathways. When areas of pooled water from rain or melted snow aren’t channeled away, they can freeze as temperatures drop. This makes walkways leading to businesses dangerous, as these icy patches often blend in, catching consumers off guard.
- Evening condensation: With lower temperatures at night, condensation often forms, clinging to surfaces like grass, pathways, and walkways. This condensation can freeze, creating an invisible layer of ice and potentially causing slip and fall accidents for consumers.
Responsibility of Business Owners
Business owners have a legal obligation to maintain safe pathways around their business. This responsibility includes regularly checking for hazardous conditions like ice patches and taking steps to address the danger.
While Michigan does not have a singular law regarding how and when to clear away ice, cities within the state often do. For example, business owners in Southfield are responsible for clearing ice and snow within 24 hours.
When a business owner or commercial property manager neglects their duty to keep their premises safe, someone hurt in a slip and fall incident might have grounds to seek compensation.
The Fieger Law team is here for you if you’ve sustained injuries like fractures, head injuries, or spinal harm from slipping on ice on a business’s private walkway. We can investigate the fall, establish that the business was responsible for your safety, and show that their negligence led to your injuries to secure a fair settlement.
Preventing Ice-Related Falls on Business Premises
As seasons change and temperatures drop, business owners must proactively meet their responsibilities under premises liability law concerning icy walkways. If your slip and fall injuries stemmed from their failure to take certain precautions, reach out to our Fieger Law personal injury lawyers for legal advice.
Steps business owners should implement to prevent injuries to customers include:
- Regularly inspecting their walkways for ice patches: This includes conducting regular inspections, especially following rain or sharp drops in temperature, and promptly addressing icy patches.
- Maintaining proper drainage: Business owners must make sure their pathways have effective drainage solutions, like grated drains or slopes to channel water away from walking areas. This helps prevent puddles that can become dangerous icy spots when frozen.
- Applying ice melt or sand to slippery areas: For the safety of customers, business owners must actively address slippery areas by applying ice melt to break down ice or sand to improve grip.
- Promptly removing snow accumulations: Doing so can uncover hidden icy patches underneath the snow, ensuring they’re addressed and treated effectively.
- Installing warning signs in high-risk areas: Placing clear signs in areas frequently affected by ice to warn and direct customers will help enable them to tread carefully and avoid icy zones.
Get Compensation for Your Slip and Fall Injuries with Fieger Law
Just because you don’t see snow in Michigan on a particular day doesn’t mean the walkways surrounding shops and restaurants are safe to walk on. Our state’s weather patterns and shifting temperatures can lead to sneaky icy patches that pedestrians might not expect.
Had a slip and fall on a business pathway? Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at Fieger Law. With an understanding of premises liability law in Michigan and across the U.S., we’ve secured millions for victims hurt due to business owner oversight.