What happens if someone slips on your sidewalk?
Snow removal is one big hassle. It involves getting out of the comfort of your home and having to shovel huge amounts of snow. But it is a necessary exercise as snow will not remove itself, and the accumulation of snow right outside your property will most definitely cause you a lot hindrance. The bigger problem is when others get troubled by the snow outside your property.
Legally speaking, snow collected on the sidewalk in front of a person's house of business is their responsibility. This way, everyone puts their share of removing snow and get clean and cleared sidewalks. This sounds perfect in theory, as collective action brings about a beneficial outcome for everyone in the community. This is why, in many states, failure to remove snow outside your premises may cause an unnecessary liability. If someone gets injured by slipping or falling because of snow outside your property, you can get sued for damages that can cost a fortune in terms of medical bills, fines, and other settlement charges.
It is, though not as simple as most injury lawyers will deem the problem to be. If someone gets injured by slipping on your sidewalk, you will not automatically be liable to pay damages. There are some considerations that need to be examined. Generally speaking, being taken to court for an injury caused to someone slipping on your sidewalk is quite rare. Snowfall, after all, is a natural phenomenon. Usually, you will get fined for the negligence of duty and receive a warning.
The other important thing that will be looked at is the timing of the fall. If the person fell while the snow was falling, or right after it, then you will not be held responsible. There is a window of time that allows you to delay and choose when to remove snow from your sidewalk. Delaying snow removal slightly will not do you any harm, especially if the snowfall takes place during the night. There is the fact that the longer you wait to remove the snow, the harder the task will become. But then again, no one immediately goes outside to shovel the snow, or worse, while it's still falling. You need to check with your local government agencies to know the exact amount of allowable time. Also, many cities provide guidelines for the amount of snow removal required, like how much paths should be cleared to make it at least easy for foot traffic.
The problem is it is not simple snow removal that will prevent falls during the snowy season. Freezing temperatures mean that any moisture is turned into ice, resulting in a sheet of ice that covers the ground. This can be even more hazardous than snow accumulated on your sidewalk. The best you can do is fulfill your duty as a law-abiding citizen and do your share of clearing up, so you do not get into trouble with the law. Just think of snow removal as a necessary exercise and brave the weather because you do not have much of choice anyways. It is just better to prepare yourself and start early to do the job and wish that no one slips and falls on a sidewalk outside your house.