Visitor Question

Broken Leg from Falling on Ice in a Parking Lot…

Submitted By: Deb (Creston, Iowa)

I parked in the street and proceeded across the parking lot of our local bowling alley at approximately 5:30 in the evening. I walked in front of a parked truck and fell on a patch of ice.

I broke both bones in my right leg and required surgery with several days in the hospital. I also had to follow up with months of physical therapy. Can I get compensation from the bowling alley for my injuries since I fell in their parking lot?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Deb,

You may have a claim against the bowling alley. The bowling alley has a duty to keep its property safe for its patrons and the public. Because the weather is never the same, and predicting its severity is almost impossible, the liability of property owners cannot be measured objectively.

If the weather had been icy for some time and the bowling alley owners or management failed to take action to de-ice the parking lot their liability would be relatively clear.

If, on the other hand, the owners and management of the bowling alley made every effort to thaw the ice, whether through de-icing or similar ice-melting measures, and the ice continued to accumulate, their liability would be less clear.

There isn’t an objective measuring device for liability from weather related accidents. Hopefully you notified the bowling alley of your injuries at or about the time of the incident. If you were bowling with friends or family just before you left, you can use them as evidence of your being at the bowling alley that evening.

Contact the bowling alley management and notify them of your injuries and the resulting medical bills and recovery expenses. Hopefully they will refer the matter to their insurance company. If they do you will soon after be contacted by the insurance company’s representative. Those representatives are referred to as Claims Adjusters.

The Adjusters will work with you to pay your medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and possibly pain and suffering. If the bowling alley management or owners will not cooperate you may have to contact a personal injury attorney. Most will not charge a fee for an initial office consultation.

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

Best of luck,

Published: October 11, 2011

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