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Outdoor tripping hazards in warmer weather

After the miserable winter weather, West Virginia residents are happy to feel warmer temperatures and see brighter skies. Boots, heavy coats and mittens may be packed in the back of your closet until next winter, and your wardrobe may now include lighter clothing, sandals or flip-flops.

You may be like many in this part of the country who tread carefully during the winter for fear of slipping and falling. Even a light snow can leave sidewalks and parking lots slick, and you may think those days are at least temporarily over as summer weather gets closer. However, don't be too quick to let down your guard. The ice may have melted, but you are still at risk of falling if property owners neglect to remove hazards from your paths.

Watch where you're going

For many, summer is a time of fun and excitement. Once you shed those winter clothes, the freedom can be exhilarating. You may have plans for picnics, outings and vacations, or you may simply decide to spend some time shopping or take an evening walk with friends. However, even though the hazards of winter are gone for now, you may still become the victim of a fall when a property owner fails to maintain a safe environment for you and other visitors. Some potential dangers include the following:

  • Poorly maintained parking lots commonly have many tripping hazards, such as potholes and debris.
  • Inadequate lighting in parking lots may lead to tripping over the curb or uneven surfaces.
  • Lighting is a factor in many falls on porches and steps leading into a public building or private residence.
  • Property owners who fail to repair dangerous conditions on the paths within their property may be liable for any injuries you suffer.
  • In some jurisdictions, businesses may be responsible for maintaining the public sidewalks that the city or town owns.

A tripping accident can lead to serious or even catastrophic injuries, such as broken bones, head trauma or spinal cord damage. To hold a property owner liable for your injuries, you will have to prove that the owner knew of the danger or should have known, and that he or she neglected to take steps to repair the hazard. You may have difficulty collecting the evidence you need to prove your claims without the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney.

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