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Slips and Falls on Ice: Who Holds Responsibility?

Where have all the people goneThere is a cold nap that has settled across much of the nation, prompting people in northern states and the Midwest to stock up on food, water, and other goods due to anticipated snow fall. People in Charlotte do not have to frequently deal with these issues but, as cold blankets the greater portion of the nation, it’s important to remember that inclement winter weather can occur, even in North Carolina.

The question that arises in many people’s minds is this: If someone slips on ice that has collected on your sidewalk, driveway, or even parking lot, who is held liable? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not always clear cut.

In North Carolina, and many other states, either party may be held responsible for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident that has occurred due to inclement weather. Ultimately, it is up to a jury to decide the outcome of the case as there is no clear law.

A jury may rule in your favor or in favor of the injured party. In some cases, it is decided that a reasonable person who knows that there is snow and ice covering the ground understands that prudent care should be taken while walking across pavement.

In other cases, it is determined that a property owner had ample time to prepare his or her property for pedestrians. This includes, but is not limited to, shoveling or otherwise clearing the snow, laying down salt to melt the ice, and/or posting cautionary signs to alert pedestrians of unsafe conditions.

What does this mean for home and property owners? To protect yourself, keep a close eye on weather reports during the winter months. If snow is forecasted, have a plan in place that includes clearing snow and ice from your property. If you will not be able to clear the snow and ice, set out signs warning people of the possible danger.

And for pedestrians? Take due care when walking through parking lots and across sidewalks when winter weather strikes. Walk slowly, pay attention to the ground, and wear proper footwear. Seek medical attention if you feel it is necessary should you slip and fall. Even if you don’t sustain any obvious injury, you can easily pull muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

If you fall, and you are able to do so, take pictures of the area. Winter weather can change quickly, especially in North Carolina’s temperate climate. Having photographs of the area where you fell can help your case should it be taken to court. Write down contact information for any witnesses to your fall.

If you have been the victim of a slip and fall accident on public or private property, the personal injury lawyers at Auger & Auger are here for you. We will work hard to get you the compensation that you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation and let us discuss the details of the event with you. We will be happy to tell you if we believe that you have a case. Call now!

Posted In: Personal Injury, Slip & Fall

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