Premises liability injury claims naturally tend to increase in the winter months when ice and snow are common in certain regions of North Carolina. This is assuredly the case in the more mountainous areas, but slip and fall accidents can happen in typical walking zones as well such as in front of businesses and on public property. Injuries that occur due to slick walking surfaces are often difficult when pursuing financial damages because fault is not always easy to prove for claimants who may have contributed to their own injury. North Carolina uses the outdated contributory negligence law that was established in England before being applied as part of the U.S. legal doctrine. Most states now use pure or modified comparative negligence law that allows injured victims to receive at least some portion of damages when the accident is not totally their own fault. Difficulties can even be compounded when ice and snow are material case factors.
Ice and Snow Build Up
One problem many property managers have in winter is the buildup of snow and ice when multiple rounds of icy weather happen in succession. While North Carolina is generally of moderate climate, ice and snow can still accumulate in the middle of winter. Responsibility for removing certain weather deposits usually must be established in writing or traditionally understood. Ultimately, liability will most often fall on the property owner or a management group in provable cases.
Surface Maintenance Responsibilities
One situation where financial damages could be available is when the incident location is covered by a lease agreement designating direct maintenance responsibility. Accidents that happen in the near proximity of a business entrance could expose the business management to liability as well when it is clearly their responsibility to clean the surface. Personal injury lawyers handling slip and fall injuries can typically make a case for dropping salt and clearing a walk space as a reasonable expectation for duty of care. However, distance from the immediate walkway can make the case more difficult regarding responsibility.
Public Property Slip and Fall Injuries
Ice and snow are equal opportunity actors when mother nature sets the conditions. Public property clearing is easily the highest priority, and especially the streets. Walkways do not always receive the attention they should. However, the local government is often not held responsible for winter weather injury claims without solid legal representation due to a reasonable assumption of risk on the part of the injured claimant. Claimants are scrutinized intently in North Carolina accident injury cases, including slip and fall injuries on ice and snow.
Why You Should Contact Our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers
There are many cases in North Carolina when ice and snow removal responsibilities will not suffice in establishing liability against a property owner or manager. If the defendant can claim contributory negligence even to 1%, the case could be dismissed immediately. Our experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers can evaluate the case comprehensively and often establish fault for the property overseers in a winter weather slip and fall accident injury just as in any other premises liability case.
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall accident in North Carolina, Kellum Law Firm can help with your claim. With office locations in New Bern, Jacksonville, Greenville, Raleigh, and more, our local attorneys are with you all the way.