Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a slip-and-fall case discussing what has come to be known as the “continuing storm doctrine.” The case is important for Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident victims because the principle behind the continuing storm doctrine has been codified into Maryland law under DC Code § 9-601.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a shuttle driver for an assisted living facility. One day, while he was driving the shuttle, he stopped to get gas at the defendant gas station. At the time, it was lightly raining, and the temperature was fluctuating around freezing.
As the plaintiff exited the shuttle, he slipped on a thin layer of ice that had formed on the pavement. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries as a result of the fall and filed a premises liability lawsuit against the gas station. The plaintiff claimed that the gas station was negligent for failing to clear the ice hazard in the gas station parking area.
In response to the plaintiff’s claims, the gas station claimed that it did not violate a duty that it owed to the plaintiff. Specifically, the gas station argued that the continuing storm doctrine permitted management to wait until the storm had stopped to clear the ice.
The plaintiff made two arguments in response. First, he argued that the continuing storm doctrine should be abandoned and no longer applied in slip-and-fall cases. Second, the plaintiff argued that, even if the doctrine is applied, it has historically been applied in cases involving heavy snow storms, rather than light rain storms. The plaintiff explained that if a business is able to open during a storm, the business should take care to ensure a safe premises.
The court was not convinced by the plaintiff’s arguments and agreed with the defendant. The court explained that the reasoning behind the continuing storm doctrine continues to make sense in today’s society, and it saw no reason to discontinue applying the doctrine. In this specific case, the court found that the doctrine should apply. The court explained that, although the plaintiff argued that there were various methods to easily remedy an icy parking lot, no evidence or testimony was presented. Additionally, the court noted that during a storm, people should be on notice that the roads and parking lot surfaces may be icy. Thus, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case against the gas station.
Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing victims and their families in cases against the parties responsible for causing their injuries. We represent clients in cases across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Product Liability Plaintiff’s Case Dismissed Based on Unreliable Expert Testimony, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2018
Court Determines “Passive Retailer” May Still Be on the Hook for Dangerous Product, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, January 3, 2018