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Ohio law says that an owner or occupier of a premises has no duty to remove natural accumulations of ice and snow from private walks and steps on the premises to protect from slip and fall accidents. It is thought that these natural accumulations are so “open and obvious” that those on the premises will discover dangers and protect themselves. Therefore, if a landlord or property owner fails to clear a sidewalk or parking lot of snow or ice, the owner may not be responsible.

However, there are two exceptions to the rule under Ohio law. First, if the property owner is shown to have had notice that a natural accumulation of snow and ice on the premises has created a condition substantially more dangerous than those on the property should have anticipated. Second, if the property owner is actively involved in creating an unnatural or man-made accumulation of ice or snow. When one of these exceptions apply, then the property owner may be responsible to those who are injured on the property.

In the unfortunate circumstance of a slip and fall in snowy weather, there are several things you should do. Seek medical treatment if necessary. Examine your surroundings and take note of what you fell on and the surrounding areas. If you have a camera, take pictures. If there were witnesses, get their contact information. You should also notify the owner or manager of the premises of the fall. To pursue a claim against the owner, contact an attorney as soon as possible, who will advise you of your rights and evaluate your claim.

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