Who’s fault is a fall on an icy parking lot? In Wisconsin, it will generally be a question of comparative negligence in which an experienced personal injury attorney will focus a light on the defendant’s conduct rather than the person who fell. On the other hand, the insurance company for the parking lot owner or maintenance company will do the opposite and turn attention to the person who fell and argue it was their own fault for falling. The second line of defense will be that even if there was ice on the parking lot, the defendant was not aware of it, maybe it just appeared shortly before the unfortunate fall such that the defendant did not have time to either become aware of the ice or take steps to eliminate it.
In Wisconsin, the duty of a property owner or person with the responsibility to maintain a parking lot is defined by jury instruction 8020:
An owner or possessor of property must use ordinary care under the existing circumstances to construct, manage and maintain his or her premises to avoid exposing persons on the property with consent to an unreasonable risk of harm.
“Ordinary care” is the degree of care, which the great mass of people ordinarily uses under the same or similar circumstances. A person fails to use ordinary care when, without intending to do any wrong, he or she does an act or omits a precaution under circumstances in which a person of ordinary intelligence and prudence should reasonably foresee that the act or omission will subject another person or property of another to an unreasonable risk of injury or damage.
In performing this duty, an owner or possessor of premises must use ordinary care to discover conditions or defects on the property, which expose a person to an unreasonable risk of harm. If an unreasonable risk of harm existed and the owner or possessor was aware of it, or, if in the use of ordinary care should have been aware of it, then it was their duty to either correct the condition or danger or warn other persons of the condition or risk as was reasonable under the circumstances.
In addition, there is a higher duty of care called safe place, which may apply depending on the defendant’s status and the type of defect or condition. Generally, safe place applies to businesses or other public places and requires the property to be in as safe a condition as the nature of the place will reasonably permit.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin gets icy parking lot slip and fall settlements for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering and disability.