Slipped on ice in a parking lot and damaged prior back injury...

by Francesca
(Cookevill, TN)

There was snow and ice in a parking lot due to a snow storm. I walked across the lot to put garbage in the trash container when I slipped and fell. The fall caused me to feel back pain and when I was able to move I went to see my primary care doctor.

I then found out that the interbody cage that was previously placed in my back shifted due to the fall. I had to have additional surgery to put the cage back in its original position. It moved 3mm from the original site.

What can I do in this situation? Will the parking lot's insurance pay for the surgery? What if they say they won't pay since it's from a previous injury? Thanks for any info you can give, and any suggestions on how to handle getting compensation.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Slipped on ice in a parking lot and damaged prior back injury...":

Francesca (Cookevill, TN):

While in many cases persons injured after slipping and falling on ice in a parking lot are entitled to compensation for their injuries, it's conditional upon a finding that the owner and/or management company had a legal duty of care to keep the parking lot safe, and that he or she failed in that duty (referred to as their "negligence"), and that negligence was the proximate cause of the victim's injuries.

For example, it is incumbent upon the owner and/or manager of a publicly used parking lot to take all reasonable action to clear the parking lot of snow and ice. This might mean "salting" the lot, or applying other chemicals to melt the snow and ice. Legally this is referred to as the owner/manager's "duty of care."

If the owner/manager breached their duty of care by failing to take all reasonable action to clear the parking lot, that breach is normally considered "negligence." In your case, that negligence was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries.

However, if the owner/manager took all reasonable action to clear the snow and ice, and the ice and snow reappeared faster than the owner/manager could clear it, the owner/manager may not be liable.

In your case, you were otherwise healthy at the time of the fall. At the time of the fall the inter body cage was in its rightful position. Because of the fall, it was dislocated. As a result, the insurance company can't really deny your claim based on your previous injury. If they do, you may have to retain an attorney to handle your case.

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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