Everett Businesses and Homeowners Need to Shovel

December 22, 2010
By

Monday’s snowfall was a precursor of much more snow to come during this winter which has just begun.

Everett property owners must beware.

A state Supreme Court ruling in July regarding slip and fall liability for businesses and homeowners is crystal clear.

Shovel your sidewalks or you’ll risk a suit if a pedestrian slips and falls on them because of ice or snow conditions.

The SJC has said in its ruling that snow is going to be treated as every other hazard is treated in terms of liability.

In other words, in the past, property owners could not be held liable for a natural accumulation of snow falling onto their sidewalks.

As a result of this SJC ruling, property owners must clear their sidewalks of snow and ice as the assumption is that someone could fall on such a surface and hurt themselves.

More importantly, if and when pedestrians file lawsuits against businesses and property owners seeking damages for injuries suffered when falling because of snow or ice, the court has made it clear it will rule for the plaintiffs.

Bottom line, it has never been more important to businesses and to property owners to clear their sidewalks and driveways as well as their stairs after a snowfall or ice storm.

The exceptions to this new ruling will occur, according to the court, when businesses and property owners have made reasonable efforts to clear snow and ice when large accumulations of its are still falling.

In other words, someone who falls on a recently cleared sidewalk can sue but probably won’t prevail if the property owner or businessperson can show that the sidewalk had been recently cleared.