Who is liable if I slip and fall on ice, is a question many people have after a slip and fall accident.  Ice and snow in Wisconsin is not unusual, but that does not mean property owners can just ignore slippery conditions.  They have a duty to act reasonably, and this is especially true for business owners who may have a higher duty, called safe place.  Slip and fall accidents cost people money by causing wage loss, medical bills and pain and suffering damages.

An owner or a 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 a 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 he or she should have been aware of it, then it was his or her 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, most businesses have a higher duty of care, to maintain their premises in as safe as reasonably possible.  This is called the safe place law statute.  It makes sense because if a store invites people in to sell them goods, the owner should make it as safe as possible for the customers.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin the attorneys at McCormick Law Office get the best results in slip and fall cases where there is documentation of the dangerous condition that caused the slip and fall and that the property owner had notice of the dangerous ice or snow.  The notice may be actual, although seldom does the owner admit seeing the ice and snow before the accident.  More often, we use constructive notice, that is the owner should have known about the ice and snow if he had done reasonable inspections.  Believe in better.