Articles Posted in Weather Related Accidents

The most commonly seen types of Indiana premises liability cases are slip-and-fall accidents occurring in the winter months due to accumulated snow or ice on the ground. Snow and ice that accumulates on a landowner’s property create a serious hazard, and Indiana lawmakers recognize as much.

A Business Owner’s Obligation to Clear Snow and Ice

In Indiana, business owners have a general duty to clear their premises of snow and ice. What precisely a landowner’s duty entails is determined on a case-by-case basis. Generally, courts will look to whether the landowner exercised reasonable care in the maintenance of their property.

Under Indiana case law, when courts consider a winter slip-and-fall accident occurring on commercial property, they look to 1.) how long the snow or ice was present on the property, and 2.) the amount of notice the landowner had of the upcoming storm. For example, if a sudden storm deposits a surprising amount of snow, it may be reasonable for a landowner to take slightly longer than one would typically expect to clear their property of the snow. Courts may also consider whether the landowner had prior notice of a problem that had occurred in the past.

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Earlier this month, a teenager lost her life in a fatal accident after the driver of the car she was riding in lost control of the vehicle and collided head-on with a large utility vehicle. According to one local news source, the deceased teen was in the car with another teen whom she had met online through social media and had just met in person for the first time.

Evidently, the deceased was a passenger in a Ford Focus, and as the teens approached the intersection of Indiana 28 and Langdon Road, the driver of the Ford lost control of the vehicle and crossed over the center line and into oncoming traffic. As the car crossed the road, it struck an American Electric Power Co. bucket truck.

The female passenger was ejected from the vehicle and was shortly afterward pronounced dead by responding emergency workers. The male driver of the Ford, as well as the driver of the bucket truck, were both transported to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie with minor injuries.

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Earlier this month in St. John, one man was killed in a single-vehicle accident that investigators say was likely caused due to the foggy conditions on the road at the time of the accident. According to one local news report, the fatal accident occurred on U.S. 231 near Park Place early on a Wednesday morning. The vehicle involved was a Ford F-150.

Evidently, the truck driver was heading westbound on U.S. 231 when suddenly the truck veered across several lanes of traffic and drove off the road. Prior to coming to a stop, however, the truck continued to roll several times. As the vehicle was rolling, the driver was ejected and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the head, and the manner of death was listed as an accident.

Police were quick to note that, while no one witnessed the accident, they believe that the foggy conditions on U.S. 231 that day contributed significantly to the accident. With that said, an accident reconstruction team is in the midst of an investigation, and there may be additional factors soon to be determined.

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