While winter brings cheerful holidays and time to celebrate with family and friends, the season also has the potential to unleash a torrent of troublesome weather. Snow, sleet, hail, and ice don’t just cause danger to drivers, but also to pedestrians. Whether you’re on a city street or in the parking lot of a grocery store, snow and ice make for treacherous walking conditions. Slips can cause serious injuries that have long term effects and can even cause people to go on disability and need an attorney. So the question is, who is responsible when a winter weather fall occurs?
Landlords and Renters
If you rent a home or apartment, snow and ice removal responsibilities are determined by your lease, local ordinances, and state laws. Landlords are typically responsible for clearing shared walkways and parking areas in an apartment complex, though you won’t find it written in your lease. Local ordinances and state laws vary greatly between locations. Some require all sidewalks and walkways cleared within 24 hours.
Of course, if you rent a home it is your responsibility to clear your own driveway and walkway, although your municipality should take care of your street. It’s important to remember that if someone comes to your house and falls and becomes injured on snow or ice, you are technically responsible. Your homeowners insurance should cover medical costs for such instances, but it’s all the more reason to understand your liabilities and coverages—and invest in a snow blower!
Businesses need to be careful because it is their responsibility to maintain safe conditions for customers and pedestrians. This includes parking lots, walkways, and entrances. If you are injured due to a slip and fall injury on snow or ice in a business location, they could be responsible for your lost wages and medical bills if negligence and fault can be proven.
Winter weather can bring chaos, with injuries adding yet another layer of complexity. Be sure to take care of your own property and walk carefully on the property of others.