In a Wisconsin slip and fall on ice, a homeowner may be liable for a fall on ice on his or her sidewalk, depending on the circumstances. The rule is the homeowner must act with ordinary or reasonable care. Under Wisconsin common law ordinary negligence as codified in JI 8020, actual or constructive notice is required as highlighted below:
An owner of property must use ordinary care under the existing circumstances to 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 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 was aware of it, or, if in the use of ordinary care he should have been aware of it, then it was hisduty to either correct the condition or danger or warn other persons of the condition or risk as was reasonable under the circumstances.
The homeowner must have had notice or been aware of the ice before he can be held to account for not removing or salting it.
An old case dealing with notice in context of slip on ice on private land that is helpful to us is Werner v Gimbel Bros., reversed the trial court finding of no notice and ruled that:
Whether knowledge of the dangerous conditions existing at 6:00 A.M. when Sokol came to work was insufficient notice in point of time to require defendants to take measures against the slippery condition of the walk at or before 10:30 A.M. is a jury question, as it seems to us, and whether the defendants’ duty to make the place safe is performed by postponing care of the walks near the doors used by patrons until care of the parking lot is attended to is a jury question also.
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best results in ice slip and falls when there is evidence of notice of the dangerous condition before the fall by the owner or occupier.