During the winter months in Asheville, NC, we occasionally get to experience winter weather and all the dangerous conditions that come with it. This has become especially true this winter, with the recent winter storms that have affected our area. However, with this winter weather, dangerous conditions on sidewalks can exist due to the slippery ice and snow. Following a winter storm, many people believe that they can just let the weather and rising temperature take care of any snow or ice that is leftover. Unfortunately, although this may work, this may not help a property owner escape liability for any injuries due to the concept of premises liability.
Generally, premises liability means that property owners can be held legally responsible for dangerous conditions like snow or ice that occur on their property. This means that if a visitor, business customer, or even the mailman gets injured on a sidewalk that is considered part of your property due to snow or ice, you may be financially responsible for their injuries. Generally, one of the following three conditions must be met in order to be responsible:
- The property owner must have caused or created the condition(s);
- The property owner must have known about the condition(s) and done nothing to fix it; or
- The property owner should have known about the dangerous condition(s);
Asheville City Ordinances
In Asheville, to determine who is responsible for clearing sidewalks, the City has enacted a local ordinance to deal with the situation. Under Chapter 16, Article I, Section 16-3, property owners are required to clear the sidewalks abuting their property of ice on or before 10AM each day in which the temperature exceeds 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, property owners are required to clear the sidewalks abutting their property of any snow, hail, sleet, or other accumulation from the sidewalk within 48 hours after the snow, hail, sleet, or other similar accumulation stops falling. Property owners who fail to follow this ordinance may be subject to a citation and fines.
Keeping Your Property Safe
In order to avoid liability for any accidents that may occur on your property due to ice or snow, you should follow some of these general tips:
- Determine whether you are responsible for clearing any sidewalks near or on your property;
- Use salt or an anti-freeze material to melt or prevent any ice from forming;
- Shovel or scrape any walkways or sidewalks or arrange to have a service do this for you;
If you were injured in a slip and fall due to a sidewalk that was icy or covered in snow, you may be unsure of what to do. In this situation, don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Minick Law for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney that can help you determine the best legal path for your situation.
[wpseo_address id=”2546″ ]
[wpseo_map id=”2546″ width=”400″ height=”300″ zoom=”-1″ map_style=”roadmap”]
James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.