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Keeping Sidewalks Clear of Snow & Ice During the Winter

With winter around the corner, the expectation is that South Carolina residents will shortly have to dust off their snow shovels, ensure they have an adequate supply of sidewalk salt, and otherwise prepare themselves for a potentially harsh winter where homeowners will have to keep their sidewalks clear. Such issues were part of recent contention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a few years ago the entire city was blanketed with snow and ice, and where the City of Charlotte, along with the State Department of Transportation, advised residents that it was the property owners’ responsibility to clear their own sidewalks and not that of the government agencies. Some jurisdictions have determined that the failure by homeowners to adequately clear their sidewalks from snow and ice is such a significant public policy issue and will face a ticket along with fines and other fees. What prompted such a decision was in part the fact that there was an increased onset of hip, spine, and even serious head injuries from such slip and falls. Additionally, such cities have determined that there are various safety issues involved in such failure to clear sidewalks, where innocent pedestrians should not have to be put in a position where they are navigating the hazards of ice, snow, and other slippery sidewalks.

What Extent Are Businesses And Homeowners Potentially Liable For Failure To Keep Clear Their Sidewalks From Snow And Ice?

In addition to the prospect of various city-imposed fees and fines is the civil liability that a business owner or homeowner may be subjected to based on their failure to keep clear sidewalks from snow and ice. Often times, both business and homeowners greatly discount the scope of civil liability that can accrue as a result of a slip and fall on their respective property, especially where there are circumstances that demonstrate such was caused by the negligence of such individuals.

Although not an issue involving snow and ice, a jury recently granted an individual plaintiff approximately $4 million for a slip and fall occurring in a business parking lot. In this case, the business had essentially created a hazard for innocent pedestrians by negligently leaving a barrier in a walkway, maintaining very poor lighting, and otherwise not ensuring that such sidewalks and walkways were reasonably clear of any potential obstacles that could cause a slip and fall. The significance of this case is civil liability for a slip and fall, resulting from ice, snow, or other obstructions can be very noteworthy, and put both business owners and homeowners at risk of liability.

Let Our Attorneys Help You

If you have recently been involved in a slip and fall, including suffering an injury and now think that you have a personal injury claim, a South Carolina personal injury lawyer at the Solomon Law Group will be able to provide you with the guidance that you need to prepare a strong personal injury claim. Personal injury claims, especially slip and fall cases can be complex without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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