Fell getting out of a car...

by James
(Waterloo, Iowa)

I work for a janitorial company and we are contracted with a factory to clean the building. I was off work and went and started my sister's car while she was in a meeting. When she came out I got out of the drivers side and walked around the rear of the vehicle to get in on the passenger side.

While walking between the car and the curb I slipped on the snow and was injured. I did not report my injury until the following day and have missed a week of work. Is my company liable for my injury? What about my sister's auto insurance or the owners of the parking lot? How can I get compensation for this? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Fell getting out of a car...":

James (Waterloo, Iowa):

Because you were not working at the time of your injury, your employer is not liable for your injuries and resulting expenses. Your sister’s auto insurance will most likely not cover the fall as well.

Your only recourse seems to be against the owner of the parking lot, the company which manages it, or both. Parking lot owners have a duty to do everything reasonably possible to keep their property safe for those who are legally upon it. There is no doubt you were legally upon the property.

The next issue is whether or not the property owner, and/or management company did everything within reason to keep the parking lot free of snow.

A property owner’s duty to protect those persons legally upon the premises is not absolute. This means the property owner must have taken adequate steps to remove the snow, and if he/she did, and snow was removed at regular intervals, then the owner’s duty has not been breached.

A property owner is normally not bound by law to keep snow removal equipment available 24 hours a day to remove every bit of snow which falls. As long as the property owner acted reasonably, then he or she hasn't breached their legal duty to you and can not be held liable.

However, if the property owner or management company failed to remove the snow at regular intervals, they may be liable for your injuries and resulting damages. These may include not only your medical bills, but out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, splints, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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