Not all slip and falls caused by snow and ice will result in a successful legal claim for damages against a Delaware landowner. Whether a Delaware landowner will be held responsible for injuries that occur on a snowy or icy walkway will first depend on whether the fall occurred during a winter storm. This is because Delaware, like the States of Virginia and Iowa, recognize the “Continuing Storm Doctrine.”
The Continuing Storm Doctrine provides that a landowner is permitted to wait until the end of a storm and a reasonable time thereafter prior to beginning snow and ice removal operations. Although the landowner has a duty to keep walkways safe from the dangers that accompany the natural accumulation of snow and ice during the winter months, Delaware courts will allow the landowner to await the end of the winter storm and a reasonable time thereafter prior to removing the snow and ice from walkways.
In applying the Continuing Storm Doctrine, Delaware courts will rely upon weather reports documenting when the winter storm began and ended. It is also important to keep in mind that just because it has stopped snowing does not mean that the storm has ended. Even a light drizzle is sufficient to establish an ongoing storm. Lengthy storms may even have periods of no precipitation or lulls, but if the storm has not completely passed there is no responsibility on the landowner to clear snow and ice. This means that even if the landowner makes some effort to clear snow and ice during the storm, the landowner will not be held responsible for a fall that occurred during a storm.
If you slip and fall on a snowy or icy walkway and the landowner failed to clear the snow or ice within a reasonable time after the winter storm ended, the landowner will be responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, contact Delaware personal injury lawyer Tiffany M. Shrenk at 302-654-4454 or [email protected]. Tiffany is experienced in helping injured accident victims receive fair compensation for their injuries. Tiffany is licensed to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Tiffany regularly practices in Delaware in the firm’s Centreville office, located minutes north of Wilmington, Delaware.