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What hazards could cause you to fall outside an establishment?

Though you may want to do nothing more than stay indoors during these winter months, that is not always an option. Most of the time, you and other South Dakota residents must brave the winter weather in order to commute to work, go to the grocery store, take the kids to school or complete numerous other activities. Unfortunately, any of these events could prove dangerous.

Not only do drivers on icy roads pose dangers, but the conditions outside buildings could also put you at risk. You may give a sigh of relief after driving to your destination safely, but you could still face the possibility of a slip-and-fall accident as you walk across a parking lot, on a sidewalk or up a flight of stairs.

Contributing factors to slip-and-fall accidents

You may consider yourself a relatively coordinated person and believe that you have good balance. However, a number of factors could suddenly cause you to lose that balance and experience an injury-causing accident quicker than you could have imagined. Some factors that could lead to such incidents include the following:

  • Ice or snow: Though property owners commonly do not have an obligation to address ice or snow accumulation outside buildings, those owners could be liable for your injuries if you slip and fall due to this hazard if specific conditions of the property contributed to that snow or ice accumulation.
  • Poor parking lot maintenance: In some cases, the parking lot itself may pose fall hazards if property owners have not maintained it properly. Cracks and holes could easily cause you to trip and fall.
  • Uneven sidewalks: Cracks and holes can also affect the safety of sidewalks as can uneven surfaces. Public sidewalks are not necessarily the responsibility of a property owner, but if patrons use the walkway solely to get to the business, the owner may hold responsibility for sidewalk maintenance.
  • Inadequate lighting: If there is not enough lighting in a dark area for you to safely see where you are going, you could fall over uneven surfaces, curbs, steps or other hazards that you could not easily see due to the lack of lighting.

Certainly, falling in public can feel embarrassing, but it can also lead to serious injuries in many cases. In the event that you slip and fall and suffer injuries as a result, you may have reason to pursue legal action against the property owners, operators or other responsible parties with a premises liability claim.

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