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With Snow In the Forecast, Be Prepared to Shovel

December 20, 2015

Although South Carolina may have a slightly differently climate than other regions in the U.S., the fact remains that the state gets its fair share of snow and inclement weather.  If fact, you don’t have to look any further than this past February, when a significant ice storm, snow, and sleet, hit the Mid-Atlantic region. It was reported that during this time period, “near-record low temperatures swept through the South, and some areas were encrusted in at least 1/2 inch of ice, [by] the National Weather Service said [and] more than 200,000 customers lost power in Arkansas, Georgia and the Carolinas.”  Such storm was highly unique, where even North Carolina’s Governor expressed that, “this is not your typical North Carolina winter storm where the sunshine melts the snow and ice in a day or two [and] the extended low temperatures and black ice likely will make this a dangerous situation for several days.”

A Property Owner’s Duty to Remove Snow and Ice

This issue for many South Carolina’s, especially understanding that long-standing ice and snow is generally the exception rather than the rule, is understanding a property owner’s duties and responsibilities are to proactively maintain their sidewalks from accumulated snow and ice. In fact, many local municipalities in South Carolina, have various ordinances which prohibit property owners of obstructing sidewalks, and in fact, imposes upon them a duty to actively keep sidewalks free and clear. More specifically, South Carolina property owners have a legal duty to insure “the reasonable safety of visitors to their premises” which includes sidewalks, walkways, doorways,  common entrances, public access areas, parking lots and other outdoor areas. As such, where there may be certain hazards such as accumulated ice or snow, water-slicked surfaces, potholes, loose paving stones, uneven pavement, large cracks, or even inadequate lighting, that may potentially cause falls and injuries on sidewalks, parking lots, and common public access areas. In some cases, property owners may even have a duty to insure the safety of visitors in terms of installing safety cameras or warning sign.

With respect to sidewalks, property owners as such may be held liable for any falls that cause injuries to visitors or even other individuals that fall within a public access area, where the property owner maintains a duty to clear. Thus, with the onset of snow and ice in the forecast, it becomes imperative that property owners seek in every meaningful way to actively seek to keep their sidewalks free from any hazards that may contribute to a slip and fall. The failure to do so, could lend itself to fines, penalties, and even civil liability for any personal injuries suffered by individuals.  

Talk to a Lawyer if You Are Involved in a Weather-Related Slip and Fall

Of course, some individuals may fail to abide by the law and may leave dangers, including accumulated ice or snow present, on their properties. And if you have been injured as a result of one of these hazards, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced South Carolina premises liability attorneys at Connell Law Firm, LLC for assistance. We will help you recover the compensation you deserve.