Conner Riley Friedman & Weichler

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Preparing commercial spaces for winter conditions

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2021 | premises liability defense |

Fall has arrived in New York and residents may begin to see the changes that come when the end of the calendar year approaches. The sun sets earlier, the temperatures drop faster, and precipitation begins to fall and can accumulate on sidewalks, windshields, and other exterior surfaces. As individuals prepare themselves for colder weather, they may also begin to make winter preparations for their homes and properties.

Commercial property owners can benefit from being proactive to maintain their shops, restaurants, and other businesses during the harsh months of winter. It is not uncommon for individuals to claim negligence against commercial entities for winter weather accidents even when those businesses have taken reasonable and appropriate steps to maintain their premises. Staying ahead of winter conditions can help entities prevent premises liability claims based on the elements.

Addressing precipitation and its effects

Precipitation during the winter can take many forms. Rain, sleet, snow, and even ice can fall and create hazards on roads, parking lots, and walkways. Business owners can clear these forms of precipitation from their properties to prevent slips and falls and can use appropriate treatments to reduce the slickness of weather-impacted surfaces.

Winter weather can affect interior commercial spaces as well. When individuals enter commercial buildings after being outdoors in winter weather, they can track in wetness that can accumulate and cause slipperiness on floors. Clearing puddles and posting signage of wet conditions can help businesses stay ahead of interior slip and fall incidents.

Ensuring sufficient light for patrons

Winter weather can be harsh, and conditions can feel starker due to the early setting of the sun during the coldest part of the year. Individuals who visit commercial spaces may arrive in parking lots after the sun has gone down. If they do not have enough light to make their way to their intended destinations, they may suffer trips and other accidents enroute.

Entities that maintain exterior spaces can check to ensure that their outdoor lights and properly functioning and sufficient to allow patrons to safely reach their businesses. Good lighting can also help businesses provide safety and security for those individuals who choose to visit their locations.

Claims of premises liability against businesses based on winter weather conditions can be frustrating, time-consuming, and costly. When an entity is sued based on one of these or other winter weather-caused conditions, they can face significant legal challenges that can threaten their operations. Prevention is a good step to avoiding litigation based on alleged premises liability claims. Legal help can be beneficial for those entities that are facing allegations of negligence regarding the safety of their business locations.

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