Whether someone can sue a business owner for falling on ice or snow is a question we get regularly. Sadly, it happens all the time in Wyoming. Wyoming is a snowy, cold, and windy place in the winter months, so it comes as no surprise that bad things happen at businesses and residences. Sadly, it also means that people can and will get injured, sometimes seriously, through absolutely no fault of their own.
Slipping on Snow or Ice Lawsuits
Whether you can maintain a claim or a lawsuit for slipping on ice or snow in Wyoming is, however, sometimes a difficult question to answer. Wyoming adopted a legal principle called the “Natural Accumulation Rule.” At its simplest, the Natural Accumulation Rule dictates that if someone is harmed as a result of the natural accumulation of snow or ice (snow or ice that just naturally builds up in a given location), the person who is harmed is responsible for their own injuries, because that person should have known the risk of walking on snow or ice in Wyoming, and should have taken their own precautions to avoid their own injuries.
Premises Liability Laws for Snow or Ice
The Natural Accumulation Rule is a strict one. And it can lead to a number of unfair results – primarily leaving a person who is severely injured without any recourse to get medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses paid for. And that happens regardless of whether a property owner ignores a dangerous condition on his or her property.
While the rule has a broad reach and severe consequences, there are some exceptions to its consequences. For example, if you can prove that the snow or ice that caused the injury was not a natural accumulation, but instead an accumulation that occurred because someone channeled the snow or ice to a particular location (like a downspout, or a channel placed in the dirt or concrete) the rule will not apply, and the injured party will have the opportunity to argue that property owner was negligent in not making the property safe. The same can be said if you can argue that some independent negligence was what actually caused the person’s injuries. For example, if a business owner intentionally places someone in a particular circumstance that places that person in a position in which the person has to encounter the dangerous condition, the injured person may have grounds to argue that the natural accumulation rule does not apply.
In any event, even if you can get past the barrier of the natural accumulation rule, the property owner will still have the opportunity to argue that you were comparatively negligent and therefore also responsible, if not entirely responsible, for the fall. So should you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been injured as a result of a fall on ice or snow, take pictures, documents everything – preferably before it all melts away. Those pictures may be your saving grace when it comes to proving your case.
Contact a Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Today
Slip and falls in Wyoming resulting from snow or ice are tough cases. If you find yourself injured as a result of a fall on snow or ice, call an attorney to talk about your rights – even if it’s not us. At Olson Law Firm, our consultations are always free. Even if you don’t decide to hire us, we’ll be happy just knowing that you’re armed with the right information.