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Hazardous winter conditions abound in Indiana

It is the season for more than just holiday parties and gift giving. Unfortunately, it may also be the season for outdoor hazards that lead to slip-and-fall accidents. It is important for Indiana residents to know what types of dangerous property conditions to be on the lookout for as the weather turns colder.

One common condition that Indiana residents may encounter is icy or snowy conditions. Whether a property owner is held responsible for a person's injuries following an accident in snowy or icy conditions will depend on a number of factors.

It is possible that a property owner will not be held legally responsible if an individual injures him or herself due to accumulating snow or ice outside of a property due to basic weather conditions. If there is what is deemed to be an unnatural accumulation of snow or ice, however, the property owner may be held responsible for a person's injuries following a fall. Such unnatural accumulation may occur when a sloped parking surface leads to melting ice that forms puddles, then refreezes, or if ice melts from a rooftop and then refreezes on the ground, creating dangerously slippery surfaces.

Dangerously maintained sidewalks may also lead to injuries. If a property owner has failed to properly clean off his or her sidewalk, and a person falls, injuring him or herself, the property owner may be held legally responsible under a premises liability theory, if the sidewalk is used solely by those utilizing the property owner's business. Interestingly, a property owner will likely not be responsible if the sidewalk in front of his or her property is a public sidewalk maintained by a town or city and a person falls.

If an Indiana resident becomes injured on another's property, it may be wise to seek out legal counsel to discuss the available options for recovery. Whether a property owner will be held liable or not will depend on the circumstances of each particular incident.

Source: FindLaw, "Conditions Leading to Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents," accessed Dec. 11, 2015

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