If I Slip and Fall on Snow or Ice in Oklahoma City, Is the Property Owner Liable for My Damages?
As winter continues to drag on and snow and ice continue to accumulate in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, the risk of a slip and fall accident becomes very real. Indeed, while a person can slip, trip, or fall at any time of the year and on nearly any surface, those that are slippery pose a greater risk.
If you’ve been a victim of a slip or fall caused by ice or snow this winter, you may be wondering whether or not the property owner where your fall occurred is liable for whatever injuries and damages you’ve suffered. Here’s a look into what you need to know:
Property Owners Have a Duty to Remove Snow and Ice
Property owners in Oklahoma City have a duty to remove snow and ice from their properties. This duty is expressed in Section 50-8 of Oklahoma City Municipal Code, which speaks to “refuse on sidewalks.” However, the duty is also implied under the theory of premises liability, which holds that a property owner has a duty to maintain their property in a safe and hazard-free condition. Snow and ice are hazards, and their presence increases the risk of an accident.
But Liability Isn’t Always Clear…
While property owners do indeed have a duty to remove snow and ice and may be held liable when an accident resulting from the failure to do so occurs, they are not strictly liable. To be sure, a property owner can only be held liable if:
- They knew of the existence (or should have known) of snow or ice; and
- They failed to remedy the snow or ice within a reasonable amount of time; and
- The person who suffered the slip and fall on the snow and ice was on the property legally.
What is reasonable depends on a number of factors. For example, in Tulsa, city ordinance states that snow and ice should be removed within 24 hours of falling. Other areas in the country have shorter time limits in place. The standard, if not based on statute, is based on the amount of time that the average, logical person would consider reasonable.
Contact Our Oklahoma City Slip and Fall Attorneys Today
If you have more questions regarding liability for a slip and fall accident in Oklahoma City that occurs on the property of another, call our talented attorneys at the Owens Law Office, PC today. You can reach us online or by phone for a free consultation.