Winter of 2018 is already shaping up to be a cold one. The Post and Courier reported on the January 3, 2018 snow storm that struck the Charleston area recently, with freezing temperatures and up to five inches of snow in some parts. And while some residents may be enjoying the change, snow and ice do create added hazards and increased risks for injury. Here are a few points to keep in mind this winter.
Who Is Responsible for Slip and Fall Injuries on Ice or Snow?
Most of the time, we are responsible for our own injuries. After all, if you are not paying attention and fall, then it’s your own fault. You will have to deal with your injuries. However, there are also situations where someone else has done something or failed to do something, and their conduct has caused your injury. This is known as negligence. In those situations, the party who created the hazard or caused your injury is responsible for compensating you for your injuries. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear who is at fault.
Where Injuries Are Most Likely to Happen
Most slip and fall injuries involving snow or ice happen on private property. Although technically someone can fall anywhere, here are some of the most common places for these injuries:
- Parking lots
- Business entryways
- External Stairways
- Uneven pavement
South Carolina has no specific statute that requires property owners to remove snow or put down salt. That said, a property owner can assume liability in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the special circumstances that can create liability for a property owner.
Poor repair and maintenance
Although a property owner does not have a legal obligation to go out and remove snow or ice, there is an obligation to maintain property in such a condition that it is safe to those who are invited to be on the property. The rules are different for homeowners and businesses, but in general, if you invite someone on to your property, you are responsible for making sure the property is safe. Broken handrails or uneven and badly cracked pavement can make snow and ice more dangerous, leading to injuries. This can sometimes be grounds for a negligence case.
Negligent snow or ice removal
While the owner doesn’t have to remove snow, if he chooses to do so and makes the situation more dangerous, this can create liability.
Although South Carolina is not generally considered a cold-weather destination, the temperatures do get below freezing. Therefore, all construction should be built to code in a manner that does not create unreasonable risks for the public. Poor construction can lead to ice accumulation where it may otherwise not be a problem.
Sometimes a property owner enters into a contract to accept responsibility for snow and ice removal. By contracting to do so, they may inadvertently be on the hook for your injuries.
Failure to warn of latent conditions
If there is a known danger on the property that cannot be easily seen, property owners must warn you about it. Failure to do so can create liability.
Getting Help With Your Snow and Ice Slip and Fall Case
If you or someone you know has been injured due to a slip and fall on ice or snow, due to the recent snow storms, call or visit the David Aylor Law Offices to speak with someone about your case today. The call is free, and there is no fee unless we can recover compensation on your behalf.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.