With recent weather resulting in ice being all around us: on the roads, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots, Charlotte’s MEDIC, says that it responded to nearly 60 calls on January 11 for falls involving personal injuries.
In the case of a person falling on ice, one may wonder who is at fault: the person who fell, or the property owner for not clearing the ice.
One Charlotte attorney said that ultimately, the duty falls upon the person to “look to see where you’re going.” He said that during this time of year, he receives multiple calls from folks who’ve been injured from falling on ice. His response is that in North Carolina, there is a standard known as “contributory negligence,” which, in basic terms, means that if the injured party is even one percent at fault, he or she will not recover damages.
N.C. is one of only three states that still use the contributory negligence standards. Now, the majority of states use a standard called “comparative negligence,” which has a more generous threshold for fault. Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida have a “no fault” standard, in which falling on ice can be the direct responsibility of the home of business owner.
According to one insurance agent, homeowner policies may cover a weather-related injury if it occurs on a person’s property, but they should discuss it with their agent first, as every case is different.
A Fayetteville lawmaker has sponsored a bill that would bring an end to contributory negligence. Opponents have criticized the bill as “costly and controversial.”
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