It’s not everyday that temperatures dip below freezing in the Carolinas, but when they do, icy sidewalks can present a hazard for pedestrians. According to the Center for Disease Control, about one million Americans are injured from slip and fall accidents every year. The rate of these accidents skyrockets as the temperatures drop due to an increase in icy surfaces.
Slip and falls can lead to muscle strains, ligament sprains, bone fractures, herniated discs, and more. If you have been injured in an icy slip and fall, you may be wondering who is liable. The personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices are here to answer your question…
Who is liable in a slip and fall accident?
Just because you slip and fall on someone else’s property, it does not automatically make them liable for your injuries. The burden of proof is on you to show that the property owner was negligent, or failed to provide reasonable care in the situation. Here are a few important notes to keep in mind:
- The “Natural Accumulation” Rule: Many states have a “natural accumulation” rule, which relieves property owners of liability in most cases of natural accumulation. This means as long as the property owner doesn’t interfere with or alter the accumulation of ice, they are generally not viewed as responsible. An example of this would be water dripping from the edge of a roof then refreezing on the ground due to clogged gutters, which adds to the accumulation of ice.
- Inadequate Outdoor Lighting: Poor outdoor lighting is an example of a circumstance in which the property owner could be held liable for your slip and fall. Inadequate lighting could be viewed as a negligent action which caused you to miss a step or not see a patch of ice, directly leading to your injury.
- Uneven Surfaces: Commercial property owners are generally responsible for maintaining their parking lots. This includes filling all gaps, cracks, and potholes. In addition, changes in height should be gradual, not abrupt. Failing to maintain a parking lot could lead to a slip and fall, and could be viewed as negligence in some states.
Has someone else’s negligence has caused you injury? Whether from a slip and fall, car accident, or otherwise, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices are ready to represent you. Contact us online to get started with a free case evaluation, or call (866) 783-9278.