When we think of Wisconsin’s icy wintertime dangers, we usually think of the dangers under our feet. Ice and snow can make roads, sidewalks and walkways slippery and contribute to winter weather car crashes. But winter weather dangers can also come from above.
Ice doesn’t accumulate just on sidewalks and roads; it can also build up on roofs, trees, motor vehicles, and highway overpasses. When it warms up, sheets of ice can fall, causing serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury, skull fractures, spinal cord damage, and chest wounds. In the winter of 1994, 48-year-old Donald Booth of Brookfield, Wisconsin died when a 100-pound block of ice fell on him as he walked past the entrance of a Nieman Marcus department store.
The icicles along on the edges of roofs are beautiful. They are formed when the heat from a building causes snow or ice to melt; as it drips down, the water refreezes into icicles. Over time, the icicles grow becoming more and more dangerous to anyone walking below. Large icicles can cause fractures, brain injuries, neck injuries and back injuries. A Mythbusters episode found that a large icicle can cause a fatal injury by just falling a few feet. But even small icicles can cause cuts, bruises and puncture injuries.
Ice and Snow on Cars and Trucks
When it’s bitterly cold outside, drivers may not want to take the time to brush the snow off the top of their vehicles. It’s understandable, but when ice or snow slabs blow off the roofs of cars, they can cause injuries and accidents.
A Property Owner’s Responsibility
Each property owner has a duty to keep his property safe. While it isn’t reasonable to expect a business owner to clear a parking lot in the middle of a blizzard, it is reasonable to expect that the parking lot will be cleared once the storm is over. Also, it is reasonable to expect a business owner to clear snow, ice, and icicles off an overhanging roof or awning. This is especially important if snow, ice, or icicles have collected and fallen from the overhang in previous winters and owners are aware of the potential risk to the public.
If you suffer serious injury from falling ice, call Hupy and Abraham. You may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Call 800-800-5678 to learn more.