What to Do After a Slip and Fall on Black Ice

Black ice is actually clear, just like any other type of ice. However, it’s called black ice because  it covers blacktop. You see right through the ice to the blacktop below. The fact that it looks black and is often hard to detect is what makes it dangerous. The term is also used for the clear ice that covers sidewalks,  

Encountering Black Ice

Black ice often accumulates in shaded areas when the temperature falls below freezing. You may see it below bridges, trees, tunnels, and overpasses. The most significant danger from black ice happens when the temperature drops below freezing overnight, then rebounds to just a little bit above the freezing point during the day.  

This particular weather pattern can leave sidewalks and streets ice-free in sunlit areas, while ice lingers in the shade. Black ice causes a substantial amount of accidents as motorists and pedestrians get caught unaware. It is wise to be aware of this phenomenon and lookout for it.

Property Owners and Premise Liability

The owner of a real estate premises is legally responsible for ensuring that it is safe for guests. Owners should conduct a reasonable inspection of the premises for dangers like black ice. Then, they must take steps to make repairs or give warning of any hazards. This applies to homeowners, business owners, and even the government. Some cities have established laws requiring that property owners keep the sidewalks in front of their property cleared of snow and ice.

Slip and Fall Accident at Work

If you wish to pursue damages against your employer for a slip and fall accident that happened on the job, your claim will likely be handled in the workers’ compensation system. You may be able to win an award for your economic damages without proving your employer was at fault, 

Extent of Fault

If you are subject to your state’s comparative fault rule, you can only collect damages to the extent that the fall was not your fault. For instance, if you contributed to a fall on black ice by being intoxicated, the court might decide that a certain percentage of the fault was yours, and the rest was the fault of the premises owner. You will only be awarded the damages that were the premises owner’s fault.


In the majority of cases, insurance is available to pay your claim. For example, if you were in someone’s driveway when you slipped and fell on black ice. You can bring a lawsuit against the owner, and the homeowner’s insurance may pay the claim. However, if you were injured when an uninsured employee failed to remove the black ice from the parking lot of a grocery store, you won’t be able to sue the employee to pay your claim. However, you can probably file a claim against the grocery store for the negligence of the employee. In most instances, employers are responsible for the negligence of their employees.   

Arbitration Clause

Many consumer contracts, such as the one you have with a fitness gym, contain an arbitration clause. In arbitration, a judge decides your claim, and the process simplifies the rules of evidence and procedure. It is typically much faster than courtroom litigation. However, the disadvantage of arbitration is that you usually cannot appeal an unfavorable decision. If you slipped on black ice on the fitness gym’s parking lot, you would have to have an arbitration clause invalidated. You can bring an attorney along to help you negotiate or arbitrate.