Following a snow storm, the apartment complex where he resided was plowed and the snow was piled on the grassy areas around the parking lot and sidewalks. When the temperature rose above the freezing mark, some of the snow melted. The water from the melting snow ran onto the sidewalks and the parking lot. In the evening, the temperature dropped below the freezing mark, causing the parking lot and sidewalks to be covered with a sheet of black ice.
When the decedent returned to the apartment building he started trying to walk to his apartment. In his effort, he slipped on the black ice and fell. When he fell, he hit his head, which caused an intracranial hemorrhage and a fractured skull. He died five days later.
The widow sued the owner of the property (defendant). The claim of the defendant’s liability was documented in a series of emails and text messages exchanged by the employees of the apartment complex. In these emails and text messages, they discussed that fact that ice would form that evening.
Actual notice was given to the employees that a dangerous situation was forming. They did nothing to prevent formation of the ice or to treat it as it formed. Instead of taking appropriate action with regard to the property, they left the property to go home before ice began to form.
The man’s widow engaged the services of two experts: a snow removal expert and a property management expert. Both of these experts were critical of the failure of the defendant and his employees to prevent ice formation or to treat the ice as it formed.
The defendant tried to claim contributory negligence on the part of the deceased man. The widow responded with witnesses at the apartment who confirmed that there was no path available that was free of ice and therefore safe.
In this case, lost income was not claimed. Medical bills totaled $112,000. The case settled in mediation, for $750,000.
If you or a loved one is hurt due to the negligence of a property owner, and through no fault of your own, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages suffered. We hope this never happens. If you are injured and you need help, Bettina Atlizer will assess your case and if hired, will fight for you. With more than 25 years of experience the team at Altizer Law, P.C., is the law firm people trust to help.