In 2010, Massachusetts overturned a century-old law that allowed home and property owners to avoid liability fornatural accumulations of ice and snow on their premises. This court decision establishing new snow and ice removal laws for Massachusetts property owners now makes it mandatory for these owners to remove dangerous amounts of ice and snow that could cause serious injury. In addition, communities all over Massachusetts have been passing their own local laws regarding how long property owners have to remove snow off public and private sidewalks.
5 Facts about Massachusetts Snow and Ice Removal Laws Property Owners Should Know
- In Boston, Lynn and Worcester, sidewalks in front of residences and businesses must be shoveled well enough so that it is safe to walk on without fear of slipping and falling. Property owners have 10 hours after a snowstorm to remove ice and/or snow from sidewalks. Those who fail to comply with this law will be fined $75.00 each day sidewalks remain snow/ice-covered.
- Complaints made about property owners who do not clear sidewalks are referred to the designated enforcement agency–the Worcester Police Department.
- It is still the responsibility of absent landlords and vacationing property owners to ensure sidewalks have been cleared of snow and ice.
- Worcester ordinance provisions allow city workers to clear sidewalks but Worcester will likely seek reimbursement for this service from property owners.
- Disabled or elderly homeowners can request assistance for snow removal by contacting the City of Worcester Department of Public Works & Parks Customer Service at (508) 929-1300.
Property Owners Can Be Held Liable for Slips and Falls Occurring on Snow-Covered Sidewalks
If you do not clean off your sidewalks after a snow or ice storm and someone slips and falls on your sidewalk or walkway (in the case of mail or delivery carriers), you could be held liable for that person’s medical bills as well as their pain and suffering. Although standard homeowners insurance policies in Massachusetts offer liability coverage for slips and falls occurring on insured properties, many don’t provide enough coverage to protect property owners from having to pay slip and fall legal expenses out of their own pockets.
Proving Liability in Slip and Fall Lawsuits
If you have sustained injuries as the result of slipping and falling on snowy or icy walking surfaces, you may need the assistance of a Worcester personal injury lawyer. Skilled in understanding how to navigate the complex legal system when it comes to litigating slip and fall cases, personal injury lawyers can get you the compensation you need to pay for present and future medical bills associated with your injuries.
Filing a Slip and Fall Case
If you think you have suffered an injury after falling, see a doctor immediately in order to document your medical problems. Also, it is helpful to take photos of the accident site to help prove liability. As there are legal notice requirements which must be given to any property owner following an injury, contacting an attorney promptly is recommended to help satisfy the injured party’s obligation to give proper notice of the accident.
Call the Worcester law offices of Peter Ventura today to learn more about snow removal laws or how to file a case.
Photo via Dmcroof