I Suffered a Head Injury After a Slip and Fall on an Icy Los Angeles Sidewalk. What Now?
It is difficult to picture Los Angeles (and many other California cities) as anything but hot and sunny. But as residents are quickly discovering, these cities do get snow from time to time. And when a city that is completely unprepared for winter weather suddenly gets an unprecedented amount of snow, all kinds of mayhem may ensue.
One of the biggest safety concerns for Los Angeles residents are slippery, icy, and snowy sidewalks. Many property owners are not aware of the proper protocol when it comes to salting sidewalks and clearing away snow. This means that many people could easily slip and fall when simply attempting to get from point A to point B. But what exactly can you do if you have suffered a head injury due to a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk? Is it true that you can sue property owners? How can you pursue justice for your injuries? Let’s find out.
Southern California Experiences Rare Winter Storm
Snow and ice in southern California are rare, but it is definitely not unheard of. In February of 2023, many parts of Southern California – including Los Angeles – were under a blizzard warning. At that time, snow, rainfall, and winds of up to 80 miles per hour posed serious issues for residents, and greatly increased the risk of car accidents and accidents. At the same time, Los Angeles struggled with flooding in many areas. The weather was so intense that many homes suffered power outages. On February 26, it was reported that the entire Los Angeles area was “blanketed” by snow. While many people rejoiced at the rare snowfall, others lost power and struggled to keep warm.
Who is Responsible for Clearing Away Snow and Ice?
Although the exact laws vary by jurisdiction, property owners are typically responsible for clearing away snow and ice after a winter storm. This situation might be rare in California, but that does not mean that property owners can get away with allowing serious hazards to exist on their premises. If a snowfall occurs during the night, property owners are usually required to clear it away by the next morning. If snow falls during the day, property owners usually have until the end of the evening to remove it. Leaving snow and ice on public right-of-way areas (like sidewalks) can even result in misdemeanor charges in California.
For example, the owner of a residential home in California is responsible for clearing away snow on the sidewalk in front of their property. Business owners are also responsible for clearing away snow in their parking lots, pathways, and other walking areas on their property.
The Greatest Snow Hazards
The greatest snow hazards are in public areas, such as sidewalks, parking lots, pathways, and driveways. A slip and fall on a sidewalk can result in serious injuries, and these hazards can become even more notable if there is black ice. Black ice can be very difficult to spot, and for elderly people or individuals with impaired vision, it may be completely invisible. Ice forms when the snow melts during the day and refreezes at night – a common scenario in California where the temperature fluctuates during rare winter storms. Parking lots also pose a serious hazard for customers who must walk from their cars to various stores. These customers might be carrying items back to their vehicles or pushing shopping carts – making it difficult to balance.
How Slips and Falls Cause Head Injuries
A slip and fall can easily cause a head injury. This type of injury is especially common when victims fall backward – perhaps after losing their footing on an icy surface. When people fall backward, it is much more difficult to cushion the fall with their arms. Instead, the back of the head often impacts the pavement with full force. This can cause a wide range of issues, including brain bleeding, concussions, brain damage, skull fractures, memory loss, and much more. In some situations, this type of knock to the head can even be fatal.
Falling forward can also cause head injuries. Even if victims manage to hold out their arms to cushion the fall, it might not be enough to prevent the head from striking the ground. Victims may also fall sideways, striking the sides of their heads on cement, handrails, vehicles, and other objects.
Can I Sue for a Head Injury Caused by a Slip and Fall?
You can sue for head injuries caused by slips and falls if you can prove that the property owner was negligent. While you cannot expect a property owner to clear away ice and snow seconds after it appears, they may be held liable if they allow these hazards to exist for prolonged periods of time. At the very least, they are expected to post a sign that warns potential victims of the fall hazard. Ideally, they should salt the surface beforehand and shovel away the snow as quickly as possible.
Suing both business owners and residential property owners may be easier than you think – especially when you consider that these entities are usually covered by insurance. These insurance policies pay out a certain amount for injuries sustained on the property, and it might simply be a matter of negotiating with the defendant for a settlement.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles?
If you have been searching for an experienced premise liability attorney in Los Angeles who can help you with your slip and fall lawsuit, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs in the California area, including those who have slipped and fallen. We know that head injuries caused by slips and falls can be incredibly serious – leaving victims with both physical and psychological injuries. If you would like to move forward with your personal injury lawsuit, book your consultation today and get started with an effective action plan.