Snow and Ice Accidents

Snow and ice are an inevitable part of a Colorado winter, and no matter how careful we may think we are, snow and ice can still cause accidents. While the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of “snow” and “accident” may be car, it’s also dangerous to walk around in the winter when walkways, pathways, and parking lots are full of snow and ice.

Accumulated snow and ice can lead to injuries due to slips and falls. These can be especially dangerous to people with limited mobility, such as the elderly or disabled. However, snow and ice hazards on walkways, pathways, and parking lots are avoidable. Those who are hurt because someone negligently left snow and ice on the walkways may recover damages…if someone had a duty to keep the sidewalk free of snow and ice.

Residents and Commercial Property Owners and Lessees Don’t Necessarily Have to Shovel and De-Ice the City Sidewalk

Most cities in Colorado, including the Denver metro area, require building occupants or owners to shovel snow from the sidewalks as soon after a snowfall as possible.[1] Homeowners and renters in those cities may face ticketing if they don’t clear the sidewalks of hazardous snow and ice. However, unless the statutes require the building occupiers or owners to keep the sidewalks free of ice and snow, then there is no duty to keep the sidewalk snow- and ice-free.[2]

What’s the Liability Then? 

Cities may not be liable for snowy and icy sidewalks. As noted above, building occupants may not either. However, there is liability if the city or the building occupant specifically acted in a way to make snow or ice accumulate on the sidewalk.[3]

For example, if a homeowner used a snow blower to clear his driveway and all the snow went onto the sidewalk, he created a hazard that he is now responsible for it. He now has a duty to protect other people from this hazard by clearing the snow. Likewise, an owner may be liable if she allows dangerous icicles to form on the awning of the restaurant building she owns and one of the icicles falls and injures someone since she owns and controls the awning. 

What About Private Property? 

Property owners have a duty to protect anyone legally on the property from foreseeable harm. For example, even if an apartment building owner doesn’t have a duty to keep the city sidewalks snow-free, he may still have a duty to residents to keep the courtyard walkways or the apartment stairs snow- and ice-free. Likewise, businesses must keep their own walkways hazard-free for their customer’s sake even if they don’t clear city sidewalks, too. Property owners are responsible for protecting visitors from dangers they knew or should have known about, which typically means having a system for the prompt removal of snow and ice from pathways, walkways, and parking lots. 

If you or a loved one have been injured because of snow or ice left on a pathway, walkway, or parking lot, call 303-393-6666 to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers and find out if you have a claim. Depending on the facts, you may be entitled to compensation to cover any losses due to injury.

[1] https://www.denverite.com/shovel-snow-laws-denver-aurora-lakewood-22226/

[2] Woods v. Delgar Ltd., 226 P.3d 1178, 1182 (Colo. App. 2009)

[3] Id

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“After I was injured in a serious auto accident, I was in a lot of pain and didn’t know what to do. Having been involved in her own accident several years earlier and hired Kidneigh & Kaufman to help her, my girlfriend told me I needed to speak with attorney Jennifer Crichton. I’m so glad I did. I had a great experience with Kidneigh & Kaufman and Jenny was there by my side all the way. Kidneigh & Kaufman is definitely a 5 star law firm. I certainly got my money’s worth by going to Kidneigh & Kaufman.”

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  • Over 30 Years in Business

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    Kidneigh & Kaufman only represents injured victims, never insurance companies or corporations. For over 30 years, we have been wholly devoted to helping individuals.

  • Trial Experience

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Firm Overview

What to Expect for Your Case

You Are Involved in an Accident

You are stopped at a red light, waiting for the light to change and you get rear-ended.

You are walking toward the deli counter at the grocery store, and you slip and fall in the beverage aisle.

Your insurance company denies your claim for the hail damage from the storm in your neighborhood.

What do you do when an accident happens? First, check to see if you are injured. If you are injured, be sure to seek immediate medical attention. You also want to be sure to document everything. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, then be sure to take photos, obtain the other driver’s insurance information, and contact the police. If you slip and fall at a grocery store, make sure you complete an incident report, obtain witness information, and take photos. If you have a dispute with your insurance company, make sure you document all of your correspondence and communication.

Contact An Attorney

Be sure to contact an attorney about your accident as soon as possible following your accident.

An attorney can help guide you through the process of making a claim with an insurance company, which is an unfamiliar process for most people. An attorney can makes sure that the correct parties and entities are notified and that your accident and injuries are well documented. Not only can an attorney help you with this process, but hiring an attorney gives you the peace of mind knowing that things are being done the right way.

Accept a Settlement or Proceed to Litigation

Does it make sense to accept a settlement or file a lawsuit?

You have completed your medical treatment and your attorney has submitted a demand to the insurance company. At this time, the insurance company may be willing to make a settlement offer to resolve the case. Your attorney will help you decide whether to accept a settlement or proceed with a lawsuit against the opposing party.

Litigation

You filed a lawsuit against the opposing party so what happens now?

When you file a lawsuit against another party, then the litigation process begins. The insurance company will likely hire a well-qualified attorney to represent its Defendant and the case will be assigned to a judge and courtroom. Attorneys will send written discovery, obtain documents, and take depositions. The attorneys are doing everything they can to prepare the case for trial and to find out more about the other side’s case. The parties may still try to resolve the case either informally or with a mediator.

Trial

What happens in a trial?

The parties are unable to resolve the case so they go to trial. The attorneys and the judge pick a jury to decide the case. Then each attorney makes an opening statement. Next, the injured party’s attorney presents his case, which usually includes testimony from the injured party, any witnesses, medical providers, and hired experts. Then the Defendant’s attorney has the opportunity to present his case and call his own witnesses and present his own evidence. After jury instructions, each side makes a closing argument, trying to convince the jury to find for their side. Finally, the jury must agree on a verdict.

  • 1You Are Involved in an Accident

    You Are Involved in an Accident

    You are stopped at a red light, waiting for the light to change and you get rear-ended.

    You are walking toward the deli counter at the grocery store, and you slip and fall in the beverage aisle.

    Your insurance company denies your claim for the hail damage from the storm in your neighborhood.

    What do you do when an accident happens? First, check to see if you are injured. If you are injured, be sure to seek immediate medical attention. You also want to be sure to document everything. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, then be sure to take photos, obtain the other driver’s insurance information, and contact the police. If you slip and fall at a grocery store, make sure you complete an incident report, obtain witness information, and take photos. If you have a dispute with your insurance company, make sure you document all of your correspondence and communication.

  • 2Contact An Attorney

    Contact An Attorney

    Be sure to contact an attorney about your accident as soon as possible following your accident.

    An attorney can help guide you through the process of making a claim with an insurance company, which is an unfamiliar process for most people. An attorney can makes sure that the correct parties and entities are notified and that your accident and injuries are well documented. Not only can an attorney help you with this process, but hiring an attorney gives you the peace of mind knowing that things are being done the right way.

  • 3Accept a Settlement or Proceed to Litigation

    Accept a Settlement or Proceed to Litigation

    Does it make sense to accept a settlement or file a lawsuit?

    You have completed your medical treatment and your attorney has submitted a demand to the insurance company. At this time, the insurance company may be willing to make a settlement offer to resolve the case. Your attorney will help you decide whether to accept a settlement or proceed with a lawsuit against the opposing party.

  • 4Litigation

    Litigation

    You filed a lawsuit against the opposing party so what happens now?

    When you file a lawsuit against another party, then the litigation process begins. The insurance company will likely hire a well-qualified attorney to represent its Defendant and the case will be assigned to a judge and courtroom. Attorneys will send written discovery, obtain documents, and take depositions. The attorneys are doing everything they can to prepare the case for trial and to find out more about the other side’s case. The parties may still try to resolve the case either informally or with a mediator.

  • 5Trial

    Trial

    What happens in a trial?

    The parties are unable to resolve the case so they go to trial. The attorneys and the judge pick a jury to decide the case. Then each attorney makes an opening statement. Next, the injured party’s attorney presents his case, which usually includes testimony from the injured party, any witnesses, medical providers, and hired experts. Then the Defendant’s attorney has the opportunity to present his case and call his own witnesses and present his own evidence. After jury instructions, each side makes a closing argument, trying to convince the jury to find for their side. Finally, the jury must agree on a verdict.