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Property conditions affect premises liability cases in Indiana

Premises liability turns on the idea that when a person enters another's property, he or she may reasonably expect that he or she will not become injured. In Indiana this concept means that a property owner has a responsibility to maintain an environment that is relatively safe. When a person becomes injured on another's Indiana property, however, many questions may arise, particularly if an injury stems from dangerous cold weather conditions.

Inclement weather is a common cause of slip-and-fall accidents, and, therefore, a common source of premises liability cases. An Indiana business owner has a duty to remove snow and ice from his or her premises because he or she has the duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the business premises.

Interestingly, despite this duty, a business owner may not be found liable in every situation in which a customer slips on a poorly maintained sidewalk, for example. To determine whether a property owner may be liable for the injuries a person suffered, a court may consider the amount of time in which a business owner had to clear the snow or ice. The longer the time period a business owner had to clear the walkway and failed to do so, the more likely he or she will be found liable. The amount of notice a property owner had of the ice or snow may also be a factor in determining liability. Whether ice is visible to a property owner, such as in the case of black ice which may not be readily visible, may also play a role in a determination of liability.

If you have been injured on another's premises, due to snow, ice or other hazardous conditions, you may wish to seek legal guidance. Each specific fact scenario will affect a final determination of liability.

Source:, "State of Indiana Retail Compendium of Law," James M. Hinshaw, Alex E. Gude, accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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