In New England, we wait with bated breath until the spring finally arrives. Unfortunately, it may take a while to thaw out. Frigid temperatures and sporadically melting snow have contributed to the significant amounts of icy roads.
In the cold winter months, New England experiences annual weather conditions that often include snow and ice. But in the winter of 2015, those elements have hit the region like a sledgehammer. Aside from the clear problems with traveling and commuting, the heavy accumulation of snow or ice usually also creates unsafe areas upon which people have no choice but to walk or drive. Businesses, like hotels, malls, and grocery stores, are therefore responsible for making sure that they remove any build-up of snow or ice to ensure the safety of their guests. When these establishments fail to remove hazards to their guests or customers, they may be liable for any injuries that come as a result of their negligence.
On January 21, 2010, Brenda Alcala was staying at the Marriott Hotel in Bettendorf, Iowa. The 54-year-old Texas woman was walking outside on a hotel sidewalk when she slipped and fell on a patch of ice.
As a result of her slip and fall, Brenda suffered an ankle fracture, which later required two major surgeries to repair. In addition, she claims that her pre-existing arthritis was worsened by the fall. The chronic pain caused by her lasting injuries forced her to change jobs within her company. She also alleges that she was forced to take a pay cut because she could no longer travel.
At trial, two other guests who had stayed at the Marriott around the time of the incident testified that the sidewalk was extremely slippery. Both guests said that it had been that way for several days, at least. Paramedics testifying on Brenda’s behalf, stating that upon arriving at the scene to treat her injuries, they had been forced to put down salt to prevent their own injuries. After some deliberation, a jury awarded the plaintiff $1.2 million in damages as a result of her physical injuries and future earnings losses. Brenda was represented in this case by Attorney Michael Bush.