DON’T DELAY SHOVELING YOUR SIDEWALK AND DRIVEWAY AFTER SNOWFALL
Some people worry about getting sued if someone falls on their property and gets injured. This is understandable, and a good motivation to get out and shovel the snow off your sidewalk and driveway, and maybe put down some salt or ice melt.
Of course another, better, perspective is that some people worry about causing other people to be hurt, and try to be responsible property owners. That’s an even better reason to shovel your sidewalk and get rid of the ice.
As far as being sued when someone falls on ice on your property and is injured, the rule in Minnesota is that a property own has a reasonable amount of time after it snows or a snowstorm to take care of their property. This is generally interpreted as about 24 hours after it stops snowing. However, a new snow does not relieve the homeowner or property owner from liability if the new snow is just covering ice that had already accumulated on the sidewalk or driveway. In fact, sometimes in that situation a new snow makes the property owner more liable because it covered ice that the injured person might have otherwise seen.
The bottom line is that a property owner doesn’t need to panic to get the snow removed while it is still snowing, but should do so promptly after the snow stops, and should definitely avoid letting the ice accumulate over the course of the winter creating a dangerous hazard for visitors and guests. You don’t want to get sued when someone falls on your property, and you shouldn’t want people coming on your property when you can prevent it by being responsible. Our lawyers have represented hundreds of people injured by falling on ice or slippery driveways, sidewalks, and other situations.