Tough winters define Cleveland almost as much as hard-luck NFL seasons. The snow and ice that cover northeastern Ohio from early November to late March do more than make Clevelanders pine for spring. They create slip, fall, and car crash hazards that put everyone at increased risks for serious injuries and death.
The Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman personal injury lawyers want residents of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, and Summit counties to understand the dangers they face from winter weather, as well as their legal options should they get hurt or lose a loved one. Insurance coverage is available for most accidents due to ice, snow. sleet, and slush, but enlisting the help of an experienced Cleveland, Ohio, slip and fall attorney or car accident lawyer may be necessary.
Slippery Stairs and Sidewalks
Local ordinances in every community across the Buckeye State set fines for homeowners and businesses that fail to quickly clear snow and ice from their approaches and entrances. This essential safety regulation does have one interesting twist in Ohio, however.
The state Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that a person cannot sue a private homeowner for failing to shovel or put down salt and sand. The justices determined that individuals voluntarily assume risk when they venture out on foot during or after a winter storm. Now, if you break a leg outside your neighbor’s house in Akron, you must rely on your own health or homeowner’s insurance policy to cover medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Consulting with a slip and fall attorney can still be beneficial in that situation because insurance companies always question such claims.
Businesses and employers still have a legal duty to clear their parking lots, sidewalks, and doorways. They are also required to keep their floors as dry as possible. Wet and slippery surfaces must be blocked off or clearly marked if they cannot be easily and thoroughly mopped.
Dangerous Roads and Highways
You probably do not need to be reminded that diving on wintry roads increases your chances of becoming involved in a wreck. Regardless, exactly how much the risk for getting injured or killed may surprise you. Nationally, some 1,300 people die each year on roads and highways covered with snow, ice, or slush. Another nearly 117,000 people sustain injuries that require medical treatment when using roads slicked by winter storms.
Ohio applies the principle of comparative negligence to car accidents. As long as evidence shows that you were less at fault for causing a crash, you can seek an insurance settlement or civil court judgment from the other person who hit you. Making your case for suffering from another driver’s negligence or recklessness will go easier if you partner with a skilled car accident lawyer in Cleveland.
Even Icicles Can Kill
Winter-related dangers come in many forms. Roofs collapse under the weight of accumulated snow. Ice-covered tree limbs snap off and fall on passing pedestrians and vehicles. Even large icicles can take lives after breaking free from building eaves.
Most risks from snow, ice, sleet, and slush can be mitigated by careful drivers and attentive business owners. If you or a loved one does suffer a slip and fall injury or a car accident that you believe could have been avoided, an attorney in the Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman may be able to help you hold a negligent or reckless party accountable. To set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, call us at (800) 678-3318 or use this online contact form.