Whether heavy rain, sleet, snow, or more, hazardous conditions and weather pose an increased risk for slips and falls, as well as a myriad of other ways to be injured. Throughout West Virginia, property owners have a responsibility to protect the safety of anyone who steps on their property, even when bad weather has left a lot to clean up. As such, following a storm, property owners need to take the extra steps to ensure a safe and well-maintained property.
During the storm, however, property owners are not expected to put themselves at risk clearing snow or picking up fallen tree branches, among other hazardous clean-up tasks. To protect property owners from slip and fall liability during storms, West Virginia follows a “storm in progress rule.” This rule states that if the conditions are too dangerous for a property owner to maintain his/her premise, then he/she may not be liable for a slip and fall accident that occurs on the property.
If you were injured on someone’s property during or after a storm, it’s essential to speak with a Charleston WV slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. Call the Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683. In the meantime, you can learn more about the “storm in progress rule” below.
What is the Storm in Progress Rule?
The “storm in progress” rule is fairly common in several other states, especially states in the northern parts of the United States. Furthermore, many states follow a rule where a property owner is not liable if the conditions to maintain the property are too dangerous. For instance, Section 55-7-28 of the West Virginia Code states that a property owner does not owe a duty of care to protect others when the dangers are “open, obvious, reasonably apparent or as well known to the person injured as they are to the owner or occupant.”
Imagine the following scenario:
There’s a major storm coming to Charleston, and it’s bringing heavy rains, winds, and lightning and thunder. During a break in the storm, you realized that you forgot to pick up groceries. While walking in front of the grocery store, you slip on a wet staircase and severely injure your back.
In this situation, is the grocery store liable? At first glance, it’s hard to tell. But according to the storm in progress rule, if there were heavy rain and potentially dangerous conditions, then the grocery store wouldn’t be liable for not maintaining the premises during the storm.
How the Storm in Progress Rule Can Affect Slip and Fall Claims
West Virginia’s storm in progress rule can affect a slip and fall claim in many ways. For instance, if the conditions prevent the property owner from creating a safe property, then the property owner may not even be liable for the accident and associated injuries. If this is the case, then you may not have a lawsuit.
At the same time, it is essential to understand some of the nuances of the storm in progress rule. For instance, after the storm has passed, the property owner is given a reasonable amount of time to clear hazards and make the premises safe again.
Do You Have a Case? Call Your Charleston WV Attorney Today
As you can see, slip and fall claims during a storm can be fairly complicated, and so it’s always a good idea to have a prominent and experienced personal injury attorney to help you fight for the damages that you rightfully deserve. If you live in the Charleston WV or Kanawha County area, and you were injured in a slip and fall, don’t bear the full weight of the medical expenses and other accident-related expenses yourself. Call Charleston WV slip and fall attorney Charles M. Love at (304) 344-5683 today. Free consultations are available.