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ST. LOUIS (KMOX)–The ice storm that caused hundreds to slip and fall in the St. Louis area also brought a blizzard of phone calls Thursday to Brown and Brown, a law firm specializing in personal injury cases.
Partner Dan Brown says St. Louis juries are usually unsympathetic to people who take a tumble on somebody else’s property.
“Basically, the jurors think that you should be watching where you’re going,” Brown said, “that if you’re going to a shopping center, you’re going to a parking lot, you’re going on somebody’s property, it’s up to you to watch where you’re going. If you’re not watching where you’re going and you fall, it’s your fault.”
There are exceptions, Brown says, such as when the injury is serious or the property owner was clearly negligent.
Clear negligence could include cases in which someone leaves a water source on overnight, and it freezes and someone slips, Brown said
Negligence can also be a matter of not removing the snow and ice all the way.
“If they do so in a negligent manner, and they leave icy spots out there, they can be on the hook for it,” Brown said.
But in some cases, he says, the property owner may be less liable leaving snow and ice untouched.
If you do absolutely nothing, and somebody falls on your property, you’re not on the hook for it normally,”Brown said, “And the reason being, there’s something called ‘assumption of risk.‘ If you walk on somebody’s property, and you know it’s icy , you know it’s snowy, and you fall, you assume the risk of going on said property.”
Brown himself does remove the snow and ice from his own sidewalk at home. “I shovel it myself,” Brown said, “I don’t even hire any of the neighborhood kids. They come knocking on my door, I say ‘nope, I’m gonna do it myself.’”