Liability, Lawsuits, and Being a Wisconsin Homeowner in Winter
Homeowners have a responsibility to keep their property safe
Winter in Wisconsin can be beautiful, but all that wintry weather brings with it the need for property owners to be diligent about making sure their property is safe. This applies not only to store owners who have to put out signs warning about slippery floors; it also applies to homeowners who have to ensure their homes and surrounding property under their care are safe. Not doing so can open those homeowners up to lawsuits if someone is injured.
Premises Liability for Homeowners
Premises liability has to do with the responsibility a property owner has to keep visitors safe from injury. For example, tree roots that have pushed up concrete along the edge of the driveway pose a trip hazard to anyone walking there. If the homeowner knows about the problem but does not warn a visitor about it, and the visitor trips and injures herself in a fall, then the visitor could sue the homeowner for compensation for medical bills and more. The homeowner could have prevented the accident by warning the visitor. Even if the visitor had still fallen at that spot, any injuries could now be seen as the visitor’s fault, because she was warned about the problem and still walked there anyway.
Tree roots and concrete are a rather obvious example, but the same concepts could apply to a slippery step, a wet foyer floor, a low doorway, and so on. If the homeowner can show that she tried to remedy problems and did warn others about them, that reduces her liability. And anyone injured while on the property illegally may not be able to claim that the homeowner was at fault, given that the person wasn’t supposed to be there to begin with.
What to Do Each Winter
In winter, homeowners should ensure that all walkways and the sidewalk outside the house are clear of snow and ice. Deicing material should be in constant use. Any icicles on trees or overhangs on the house, or mounds of snow hanging off branches, should be removed.
Also, gutters need to be clear. Leaves that get stuck inside the gutter can form clogs that send rainwater cascading over the side, creating yet another hazard.
If you’ve been injured on someone’s property, contact Eisenberg Law Offices immediately. You need to create a solid case with the help of knowledgeable Madison injury attorneys.