What are my rights if almost 2 years ago, I fell on untreated black ice?

UPDATED: Dec 26, 2013

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What are my rights if almost 2 years ago, I fell on untreated black ice?

A couple weeks later, the pain was severe and I went to the chiropractor for an X-ray. The xray proved my sacrum had an abnormal angle and there were a few slipped discs. I was not able to afford full treatment. Now that I am a little older and know a little more about the law, I was wondering if I could still file a claim? My back still bothers me everyday. I am not sure what I should do or if anything can be done.

Asked on December 26, 2013 under Personal Injury, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, if think you might file a lawsuit, file it NOW! The statute of limitations, or time within which to file a lawsuit in your state, is only 2 years for personal injury, so if the accident occurred "almost 2 years ago," you may be almost out of time.

Second, in terms of whether it's worth filing a lawsuit: a property owner is not liable simply because you were injured on his or her property. Rather, to be liable, he or she must have been at fault in some way, such as through negligence, or unreasonable carelessness. "Black ice" is difficult to see or detect; the property owner would likely not be liable if--

1) no one had reported it to him or her, and he or she (or his or her employees) did not themselves walk over that patch prior to your fall, so that they would have known (or reasonable should have known) of the hazard--i.e. with knowledge of the condition, there's no obligation to do anything; or

2) the ice was in a place that people don't normally walk, so even if they knew of it, the property owner would not be expected to treat it; or

3) even if the property owner was aware of the ice and it was somewhere that should be treated (e.g. on a walkway), there was no time to do anything about it (e.g. the storm was still happening).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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