Wisconsin ice slip and fall accidents are common enough but present challenges to any attorney willing to take on the case. Under Wisconsin law, most property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe manner relative to people who are there to use it, essentially anyone who is not a trespasser. Wisconsin jury instruction 8020 provides:
“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 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.”
Ice accumulation on a sidewalk or in parking lot can be an unreasonably dangerous condition subjecting the owner to liability if someone slips and falls on the ice and becomes injured. However, the owner must have actual notice of the icy condition or constructive notice (meaning he should have known about if was being vigilant) of it an opportunity to clean it up. A failure to use ordinary care to check on a property can constitute constructive notice.
[nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] attorneys get the best results in Wisconsin ice slip and fall cases when the ice is present on sidewalk or parking lot used by people walking, the ice has been present long enough for the property owner to salt or clear the ice and nothing was done. The defense will correctly argue the injured person had a duty to watch out for herself and there likely will always be a percentage of comparative negligence attributable to the plaintiff. Slip and falls often result in broken bones, pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages.