Neighbors That Don’t Shovel? The Worst Kind of Slip and Fall

October 25, 2015

With winter fast approaching, many hardware stores will start stock up on snow shovels, salt, and other side-walk ice treatment products.  Understanding that shoveling snow is time-consuming, a chore, and at times, requires a significant amount of time, as a homeowner, it is not only investment in your own family’s safety and welfare, but that of your neighbors as well.  

Although not well known and the data or statistics from slip and falls is somewhat uncertain, the fact remains that injuries from slip and falls from ice or snow constitute a significant percentage of emergency room visits during the winter time.  In fact, the U.S. National Institute of Health has actually evaluated the issue of slip and falls in the winter, including providing substantive recommendations, guidelines, and other information regarding slip and fall prevention and measures, which suggests that homeowners take the time to ensure their sidewalks, walkways, and other common areas are free from snow and appropriately treated for ice.  

Duty of Care in South Carolina

As in the case in many states, the law in South Carolina remains that homeowners have a duty to others, who foreseeably and reasonably may use their sidewalks, walk-ways, and other common areas, to remove and clear ice and snow, which, if left untreated or unaddressed, may lead to serious bodily injury or harm.  To enforce such laws, many states now enforce by way of compliance officers and issue tickets, fines, and penalties to homeowners who refuse to reasonably remove snow and ice from their sidewalks.  A good example of this was during the snowstorms of 2010, where in New York City there were approximately 10,000 tickets issued to various homeowners for failing to do just that.  Additionally, many homeowners associations (HOA) now put in their own bylaws that homeowners are required to keep and otherwise maintain their sideways clear from snow and ice.

If a neighbor or pedestrian observes that a particular sidewalk or walkway is not clear from snow and ice, they have the right to file a complaint and otherwise report you to the respective municipality and HOA, which could not only result in a ticket or notice of violation, but significant fines, penalties, and in some jurisdictions, even criminal charges.  

What Happens if I Slipped and Fell?

Of course, some individuals may fail to abide by the law and may leave dangers present on their properties. And if you have injured yourself as a result of one of these hazards, don’t hesitate to contact the Connell Law Firm in South Carolina for assistance. We will help you recover the compensation you deserve.