Hiking is a great way to see nature, explore, and get some exercise. In fact, many landowners in North Carolina choose to open their lands and accept the responsibility to provide protection for visitors. However, enjoying the outdoors can come with specific risks. Whenever we talk about venturing into the great outdoors, the most important rule is safety first. Unfortunately, not all injuries can be avoided, especially if the accident occurred due to elements outside of your control. Hikers have suffered severe and sometimes fatal injuries in hiking accidents.
So, what happens if you get injured while hiking on someone else’s property? If the injuries weren’t your fault, could the property owner or someone else be liable? Read on to learn more.
Land Ownership and Liability in North Carolina
Under North Carolina’s premises liability laws, property owners have a duty of reasonable care to a lawful visitor to avoid unnecessary exposure to a hazardous situation or warn that danger is present. Reasonable care by a landowner might include properly maintaining the property and ensuring adequate security for visitors.
To recover compensation for damages, the injured party must provide evidence that the landowner caused, knew of, or should have known of a hazardous condition and negligently failed to correct the condition. Suppose there is a dangerous situation that cannot reasonably be fixed. In that case, the landowner is only required to give an adequate warning of the hazardous condition. However, suppose the condition would be apparent to a reasonable person. In that case, the landowner may not even have a duty to warn. If you are injured in a premises liability case, you might be able to sue for lost wages, medical bills, future medical bills, estimated future earnings, pain and suffering, and more.
The Role of Insurance in Premises Liability
If a visitor is injured while hiking on a landowner’s property due to negligence, then the landowner’s existing premises or liability insurance policy may come into play. Even if there is no negligence found on the part of the landowner, their liability policy may have “no-fault” coverage for medical payments.
Safety Tips to Know Before Hitting the Trails
One of the draws to hiking in North Carolina is the beautiful wilderness, and particularly its hiking trails. It’s essential you make sure to abide by the safety guidelines below, not only to keep yourself safe but your family too.
- Invest in Good Gear: Proper hiking shoes or boots will keep you comfortable and sure-footed to avoid trips and falls.
- Safety first: Make sure your phone is fully charged. Bring water and a non-perishable snack for your day out. Additionally, you’ll want to bring along sunscreen and bug repellent whenever you’ll be outdoors.
- Bring a friend: Hiking alone can be a great way to find solitude. However, suppose you’re not an experienced hiker or unfamiliar with the trail. In that case, it is always a good idea to hike with a friend.
- Check the weather: Before hitting the trail, always check the weather reports and pack accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to prepare for the unexpected. Bring extra layers, rain protection, and so on.
- Never venture off marked trails: Stay on observation decks and platforms, and don’t venture off marked trails and pathways. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for posted safety signs, warnings, or trail rules, and be sure to follow them.
Attorney David Daggett’s Recommended North Carolina Hiking Trails
- Long Branch Trail from the Innovation Quarter: If you are looking to stay in Winston-Salem, you can take this captivating trail and connect to the Salem Lake Greenway.
- The Strollway in Old Salem: Great for children in strollers or joggers who want to be uninterrupted by traffic. It runs from the Old Salem visitors center and covered bridge all the way up to Fourth Street.
- Moore’s Knob trail at Hanging Rock State Park: Moore’s Knob is the highest mountain in the Sauratown Mountains. It’s perfect for those looking for an adventurous challenge. There are 642 stone steps on the trail, and it’s essential to watch your step on this hike!
- The Lake Loop at Hanging Rock State Park: This trail is a fantastic, easy beginner’s introduction to the park. It’s also a perfect trail to introduce younger kids to hiking. Not to mention there’s plenty of things to look at, including tadpoles, turtles, and salamanders.
Injured While Hiking? Contact the NC Personal Injury Attorneys at Daggett Shuler
If you or someone you know has been injured while hiking, and believe the accident occurred due to the property owner’s negligence, contact us today for a free case evaluation. Determining the duty of care owed to you when hiking on someone’s property requires an evaluation of the facts of your case and the law by an experienced personal injury lawyer. That’s where we can help. Call Daggett Shuler today at 1-800-815-5500 or click here for a free case evaluation.
You Can Depend on Daggett Shuler.