Is it Negligence if You Don’t Shovel the Snow From Your Sidewalk?

A homeowner can be found negligent if they allow their sidewalks to stay snowy and icy, causing an unreasonable harm, that can lead to others being hurt. Usually, shoveling snow and salting ice on sidewalks is the responsibility of the homeowner. However, it can depend on if you rent the home, if it’s an apartment, or if the local municipalities ordinances require something different. If it’s on the homeowner, usually they need to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice within a certain period of time after a snowfall.

If a homeowner doesn’t shovel or ice their sidewalk and someone slips and gets hurt, the injured person can sue the homeowner for those personal injuries by claiming the homeowner was negligent. To prove negligence, the injured person would need to show:

  1. The homeowner was responsible, or in other words owed a duty of care to passersby to keep the sidewalk clear of hazards and in a reasonably safe condition.
  2. The homeowner breached that duty by failing to shovel and/or salt accumulated snow and ice.
  3. The homeowner’s breach of that duty was the proximate cause of the injury.
  4. The injured person suffered actual damages as a result of the breach, meaning they were actually injured. It is not enough to simply fall on the premises.

As a homeowner, to protect yourself from potential lawsuits concerning your snowy and icy sidewalks, make sure to check the laws of your particular municipality, county, lease, and HOA. These references might also dictate how long you have after snowfall to properly clear the area. But just shoveling might not be enough. You might also need to lay down salt so the area doesn’t refreeze and become slippery.

Discuss Snowy Sidewalk Negligence With McCready Law

It’s essential for homeowners and landlords to know what their local rules say regarding snow and ice removal from areas accessible to the public, and to comply with them to avoid any legal liability. Likewise, if you’re injured by slipping and falling on an uncleared sidewalk, call our premises liability attorneys for a free consultation to see if you have a viable personal injury claim.