Amount of Time for Business Establishment to Remove Ice or Snow After Storm.
In determining the amount of time for a business to remove snow or ice, Iowa Courts have relied upon the ‘continuing storm doctrine’ which generally provides that a business establishment, landlord, carrier, or other inviter, in the absence of unusual circumstances, is permitted to await the end of the storm and a reasonable time thereafter to remove ice and snow from an outdoor entrance walk, platform, or steps.
In a case before the Iowa Court of Appeals addressing the continuing storm doctrine, an individual challenged whether an actual “storm” existed at the time she slipped and fell on ice after leaving a business establishment. The evidence showed that at the time of the individual’s fall, around 4:00 p.m., freezing rain was falling and continued falling until around 10:30 p.m. when the temperature rose above freezing. The freezing rain resulted in the sidewalks icing over, leading to the individual’s fall.
The individual who slipped and fell claimed damages from the injuries she sustained and argued that the continuing storm doctrine should not apply because the weather event was not a storm that would excuse the owner’s failure to remove the ice on the sidewalk.
The Iowa Court of Appeals held that because the freezing rain had not stopped before the fall, the landlord was not yet under a duty to take steps to remove the ice. Therefore, while not defining what this “weather event” was to be called, the Court found that it was of sufficient significance to qualify for the application of the continuing storm doctrine and that the Owner was not liable for the individual’s injuries sustained from the slip and fall on the icy sidewalk.
If you have any questions about a property owner’s responsibilities in regard to maintenance of their premises or slip and fall injuries, feel free to contact the Crimmins & Kehm Law Firm at 515-573-2191.