Rhode Island winters bring snow and ice, which makes sidewalks, stairs, and other outdoor walkways slippery and especially dangerous. Property owners in Rhode Island have a duty to make their premises reasonably safe for tenants and visitors, which includes removing ice and snow within a reasonable time after it collects to reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident.
Premises Liability Law
Slip and fall accidents fall under premises liability law. In Rhode Island, a landowner has a general duty to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of his or her property. The duty of care for a particular person on his or her property may depend upon the relationship between the landowner and the visiting person.
Business Invitees and Recreational Licensees
Business invitees are people who visit the property for a financial or commercial purpose. Shoppers in stores are a common example of business invitees, as are repair people invited into someone’s home in order to fix an appliance, do carpentry or plumbing work, or perform another paid task for the homeowner.
A licensee, on the other hand, is someone who visits a property with the landowner’s permission, but not for an economic purpose. Party guests are a classic example of licensees.
A Rhode Island property owner is expected to clear ice and snow off sidewalks, stairs, and other outdoor areas within a "reasonable time" after the snow has stopped falling. This is an extension of the landowner’s responsibility to use "reasonable care" to protect visitors to the property, including protecting visitors from dangerous conditions the landowner knew about or should reasonably have discovered [Kurczy v. St. Joseph Veterans Association, Inc., 820 A.2d 929, 935 (R.I. 2003)]. This duty applies to both business invitees and licensees.
A landlord’s responsibility to clear ice and snow from a property to protect tenants and visitors may depend on the relationship between the landlord and tenant, as well as the specific terms of the lease. However, Rhode Island’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Section 34-18-22, requires residential landlords to keep common areas, including sidewalks, steps, and parking lots, in a reasonably safe condition - which includes removing slippery ice and snow.
Icy Sidewalk Slip and Fall InjuriesA slip and fall on an icy Rhode Island sidewalk can cause serious injuries. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, for instance, estimates that 28 percent of all spinal cord injuries are caused by slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents can also cause traumatic brain injuries like concussion, leg, arm, and wrist fractures. These injuries, and many others, can be expensive to treat and may leave a person with life-long disabilities.
Dedicated to Justice
Failure to keep sidewalks clear of ice and snow puts anyone who walks on them at risk of serious injury, and those who expose Rhode Islanders to such risks must be held accountable. At Marasco & Nesselbush, Rhode Island’s trusted personal injury law firm, our RI slip and fall accident attorneys are committed to personal, social, and economic justice. In our many years of experience, we have successfully resolved many slip and fall injury cases, and we remain dedicated to providing outstanding representation. To learn more about how we can help you obtain the compensation for your injuries, please fill out the free case evaluation form on this web page or call one of our four convenient offices for a free consultation:
Providence (401) 274-7400
Wakefield (401) 783-0000
Warwick (401) 738-7700
Woonsocket (401) 762-9800
Recent Icy Slip and Fall Case Results
- $80,000 recovery - For tenant who fell on ice allowed to accumulate on landlord’s property
Click here for more case results.