Who is responsible for salting sidewalks in Wisconsin depends on whether it is a public or private walkway.  This blog concerns private sidewalks only.  A slip and fall on ice or snow covered causes financial losses such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.  Who has to pay for the damages caused by an icy sidewalk or parking lot on private property.

Generally, 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.  This means shoveling snow and salting or removing ice so people do not fall and become injured.  It is common in Wisconsin for people to slip on ice causing broken wrist or fractured leg.  The property owner is not an insurer, but if he has notice of the snow and ice, he must use ordinary care or reasonable care to take care of the snow and ice.

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 he should have been aware of it, then it was his duty to either correct the condition or danger or warn other persons of the condition or risk as was reasonable under the circumstances.

If the property owner is a business, then a higher duty of care may apply, the safe-place law. That law imposes a duty upon the business to maintain the premises so as to make them safe.  This does not mean absolute safety.  The term “safe” means such freedom from danger to the life, health, safety, or welfare of visitors as the nature of the premises will reasonably permit.  It means salting sidewalks if you know or should know the ice is there.

McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are experienced in slip and fall on ice and snow where the property owner failed to salt sidewalks or the parking lot.