Having sidewalks makes it much easier to get across lawns and home fronts without slipping and falling, but if the homeowner does not take care of that sidewalk, it could wind up costing them a great deal due to liability. Having a sidewalk means having the responsibility to maintain it reasonably well and prevent dangerous conditions from developing. If someone were to trip and fall due to the poor condition of a sidewalk, its owner and those responsible for maintaining it could be held liable for damages.
Property Owners Have to Keep Sidewalks Clear
Whether or not the property owner actually owns the sidewalk running along the property line, most municipalities as well as case law determine the property owner must take reasonable care of it to ensure no dangerous conditions develop. During the wintertime, that means clearing sidewalks of snow and ice and putting down snow melt, rocks salt or sand to prevent ice from developing and to provide additional traction as well as a clear path for pedestrians. If an elderly woman were to slip and fall on ice and break her hip, the property owner who should have maintained the sidewalk could be held liable, even if it were a public sidewalk and not owned by the property owner. The responsibility to keep it clear would be enough to initiate liability.
Other Walkways Also Must Be Kept Clear
In addition to public sidewalks, property owners must keep their other walkways clear of water, ice, snow and other substances that could cause people to slip and fall. They also must keep them in relatively good condition and take reasonable steps to repair any structural problems that might arise, such as broken and loose chunks, leveling unsettles pieces and generally assuring the walkways are safe for others.
What steps do you take to ensure your walkways are safe for pedestrians?