Who is responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks?

Monday November 15, 2021

With dropping temperatures and winter precipitation comes the risk of someone slipping on snowy or icy surfaces. You already likely understand that businesses have an obligation to maintain clean facilities and safe parking lots. If you fall in a parking lot that a business left unplowed, they might be liable.

However, there are also miles of sidewalk where you could easily slip and get hurt during the winter in Connecticut. Proper maintenance of a property involves the timely removal of snow and ice so that people can use the sidewalks safely.

If you fall and get hurt on a section of uncleared sidewalk, who is ultimately responsible for your injuries? 

Snow and ice on sidewalks can lead to premises liability claims

Connecticut does not have a state law addressing the requirement to maintain sidewalks or clean snow after a storm. Rather than addressing snow removal and other sidewalk maintenance issues in state law, Connecticut leaves the matter to local authorities.

Many municipalities, like New Haven, make sidewalk maintenance the responsibility of the property owner. They have an obligation to remove snow and ice within 24 hours of a storm so that their sidewalk is usable by members of the public. They also have an obligation to repair their sidewalk in situations involving frost heave.

Unfortunately, many property owners ignore their responsibility to keep the sidewalks clear until someone gets hurt while walking past their property. Those hurt on an uncleared section of sidewalk may have grounds for a premises liability claim against the property owner. 

Insurance often covers premises liability manners

Property owners and businesses alike typically carry insurance to protect them from liability. If someone gets hurt on their property, premises liability coverage protects them from monetary claims related to property damage or injuries.

You may be able to make a claim against somebody’s homeowner’s insurance policy or against a business insurance policy. Slipping and getting hurt because someone was negligent in their property maintenance can sometimes also give you grounds for a personal injury claim.

Understanding that uncleared snow can lead to premises liability in certain municipalities could help you take action if you get hurt on an icy section of sidewalk.

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