Charleston South Carolina

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As temps drop, protect yourself and others from slips and falls

Cold weather accompanied by ice, snow and other types of precipitation can be dangerous when it creates slippery conditions. In fact, there is an area of law, premises liability, that covers slip-and-fall accidents.

Here are some ways in which you can keep yourself and others safe this winter.

Clear walkways as soon as feasible

You do not need to go outside in the middle of a snowstorm or ice storm to clear your sidewalk, but do so as soon as safely possible after the precipitation stops. While South Carolina has no state ordinance on snow removal, that does not mean it is okay to leave potentially dangerous snow on the premises after one of these relatively rare storms.

Mend any areas you have neglected

In winter, people tend to dress in bulky clothing. They are less mobile and less likely to see the hazards where they are going. In fact, people in winter can be more susceptible to uneven pavement, torn carpeting and poorly maintained staircases for this reason. If you have problem spots such as these in your business or in your home where people visit frequently, it is a good idea to take care of them. People who sustain an injury must show that there was a hazardous condition, that it caused their injury and that the owner of the property knew about the hazard and did nothing, or should have known and did not issue adequate warnings. 

Proceed with caution and think longer term

When there is snow, ice or even rain on the ground, people are expected to take reasonable precautions. Thus, the bar can be higher for proving a slip-and-fall case in winter than, say, in the spring. If the sidewalk appeared icy, should you have attempted to walk on it in the first place? The law is full of nuances, which is why it is important to document the premises if possible when an accident occurs. If you suffer an injury, seek medical attention to establish a record. Also try to take pictures of the scene and get the contact information of any witnesses.