Snow Slip and Fall Expert

Slip-and-fall injuries are the most common claims associated with snow and ice removal. 

Fall injuries are the number one, year-around risk for both employees and guests. But winter ice and snow exponentially add to both the risk of injury and the complexity of a claim. 

Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit: Defense and Plaintiff Litigation

Fall injuries are also the number one injury risk for invited guests. The average çost of a claim is $50,000, and typically average $75,000 to $115,000 for claims involving hospitality, food service, building service, health care and government/school.

Falls can be particularly dangerous for older adults. About 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. More than 3 million seniors are treated for fall injuries in hospital emergency rooms each year. Many fail to ever recover the mobility and independence they enjoyed before a fall accident, which can significantly increase the costs associated with these types of claims. 

All totaled, more than 25,000 people a day suffer a fall injury, costing $3.5 million an hour, according to the National Safety Council. 

Trade lobbyists and insurance companies have long lobbied for more protections and have been successful in a number of states. 

Whether a plaintiff is an invitee (customer) or licensee (social guest) will also impact the duty owed by a property or business owner or manager. A third category, trespasser, enjoys few protections but immunity of a property owner is not absolute. The statute of limitations also varies in these cases, depending on where they are filed.. 

  • In Ohio, a plaintiff has two years to file a case, which will focus on breach of duty, causation and damages. Trespassers will not have a claim unless they can prove willful, wanton or reckless conduct on the part of the land owner. 
  • Pennsylvania, for instance, puts the burden of proof on the plaintiff, who must show either that a property owner knew of a dangerous condition and did not correct it, or that the condition existed for a long enough time for a reasonable person to discover and correct it. Claimants in Pennsylvania also have two years to file a case. 
  • In New York, claimants have three years. Like Pennsylvania, plaintiff cases will hinge on proving a defendant had actual or constructive knowledge that a dangerous condition existed, and that the condition resulted in compensable injuries. 

Slip and Fall Settlements: Consulting and Expert Witness Testimony 

The demand for expert witnesses in slip-and-fall cases relative to snow and ice has grown exponentially in recent years as states have continued to shift the burden of proof to plaintiffs. 

Areas where our extensive knowledge and experience can make the difference include: 

  • Proving actual or constructive knowledge - whether a defendant knew or should have known of a dangerous condition - can make vital a thorough understanding of snow and ice removal, plowing, drainage and the application of suitable ice melters. Chronic conditions caused by inadequate design or remediation measures often exist in these types of cases. Without such knowledge, defendants may successfully argue the danger was transient, or a one-time risk.
  • Comparative fault is another area where our expert witnesses often make the difference. In many cases, defendants will argue a victim was partially to blame for causing an accident or injury. In most instances, successfully reducing liability will reduce exposure to the claim for damages.  
  • Third-Party Liability: From the plaintiff’s perspective, identifying other liable parties (including property owners, snow-removal companies, managers, or product manufacturers) can enhance a victim’s ability to collect fair damages in the wake of a serious injury. From the perspective of a defendant, identifying other liable parties can reduce associated liability. 

Snow and ice management and mitigation is an incredibly complex process and consulting with Allin / Rose Consulting, Inc., where these issues have been our exclusive focus for more than half a century, is among the best things you can do to help build a winning outcome for you and your client.

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Erie, PA 16508
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