Massachusetts Legal Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Snow, Ice and Sidewalk Liability

December is that time of year when we wish friends and relatives alike, “Happy Holidays.” This is also that time of year when slipping and falling due to inclement weather returns with a vengeance. Welcome back to winter and those slips and falls due to ice and snow.  What a good time to discuss the issues involved with the area of the law that deals with liability regarding such falls. This is an area often referred to as “sidewalk liability”. Can someone sue you if they fall on your sidewalk due to ice and snow? Let’s discuss sidewalk liability and how a personal injury attorney can help.

Some Factors That Determine Liability         

Liability for falls and resultant injuries vary from state to state and even from municipalities within the same state. If someone falls on your property, you may be sued and found liable. However, it is generally harder to sue someone for falling and being injured on their property than for injuries resulting from other events, such as car accidents.  Lots of factors can come into play, including the jurisdiction you live in and the circumstances leading up to the fall. Such circumstances can be very complex, and you should seek out a good personal injury attorney to assist you in reviewing the actions that can be taken.

Recognizing Different Timelines

In many jurisdictions, a fall that results solely from slipping on the ice or snow in front of someone’s home is not sufficient to be successful in a lawsuit for damages resulting from the fall.  Many of those laws say that a person cannot be held liable for the snow that falls as it is an act of nature that they have no blame or control over. However, other factors can fall within the property owner’s knowledge or control, such as a broken sidewalk or other hazards the property owner is aware of that contributed to the fall. Consulting a personal injury attorney at the Shapiro Law Group to help you sort through the plethora of factors that need review should be your first step.

Where does Personal Injury Massachusetts Law Stand?

As noted above, liability for snow and ice fall injuries varies from state to state. Back in 2010, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that property owners could be held liable for falls on their property that resulted from snow or ice that fell on their property. Snow and ice are considered a dangerous condition that must be dealt with by the property owner. Of course, other legal decisions have come out since then to help clarify and delineate the law in Massachusetts. One factor to consider is the time since the snow has fallen. Laws do not require a property owner to be outside removing the snow as it is actively snowing.

Consulting a Personal Injury Attorney at the Shapiro Law Group

To sum up, laws vary greatly between jurisdictions regarding liability of property owners for falls that result from snow and ice on their property. While some jurisdictions will hold the owner liable only if some other factor contributed to the fall (such as broken or uneven sidewalks), some jurisdictions recognize a responsibility of the property owner to deal with the snow and ice on a timely basis without the need for another contributing factor. What is the best way to deal with the situation? The answer to that question is easy: consult the personal injury Massachusetts law experts at the Shapiro Law Group to assist you through the whole process. Contact us today at (339) 309-1188 for a free consultation.