In areas with heavy winters, snow and ice buildup is common on many home roofs. Unfortunately, dangerous issues such as ice dams may develop and put the well-being of visitors at risk. Therefore, homeowners need to understand this issue and how it could result in a personal injury lawsuit.
Ice Dams Can Be Dangerous
Ice dams occur on roofs when snow melts due to the warmth of a roof and refreezes into a sheath of ice. These dams collect heavy amounts of snow and ice and are often on the verge of sliding off of a roof during the winter. When one of these dams breaks, what may be hundreds of pounds of snow and ice will suddenly fly off of a roof.
When this happens, any individual standing under the affected area will be gravely injured. In fact, broken ice dams have actually killed people in the past. However, even a person seriously injured by an ice dam at their friend's house may have the legal right to pursue a lawsuit against the homeowner.
Homeowners Must Protect Guests
When a person visits a friend's house, the homeowner has to do more than simply ensure that their friend has a good time. They must, in fact, ensure that their friend is safe while visiting. This duty extends to reasonable acts of protection, such as cleaning away ice on a porch so that people don't slip on it.
This duty extends to all elements of a home, including dangers caused by ice dams. In this situation, a homeowner may find themselves losing a friend as they enter in a lengthy and – potentially damaging – personal injury lawsuit for the injuries caused by the ice dam.
A Personal Injury Lawsuit May Go Poorly For the Homeowner
The fact that a homeowner owes their guests a protection from injury during visits makes this type of case very hard for the defendant to win. For example, the defendant may try to argue that the hidden nature of ice dams makes it impossible for them to predict when they will occur and that they shouldn't be responsible for the injury.
However, many courts will argue that such problems are easy to prevent if the homeowner takes the proper steps of clearing off their roof. This type of behavior is often considered a reasonable protection action and can complicate this type of case. However, the defendant can provide evidence showing that they took appropriate steps to manage the ice dam but were unable to stop it from developing.
The complications of these kinds of personal injury cases make them hard to defend. Therefore, if you are in this situation and you need legal help, please don't hesitate to reach out to a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your possible defense options.