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Dangerous Property / Nov 04,2022

Property owners need to clear sidewalks of ice and snow

Owning real estate means accepting quite a bit of responsibility. You have to maintain a certain level of income to make your mortgage payments every month. You will also need to set funds aside for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance coverage, likely through escrow contributions.

The property itself will also require an ongoing investment of both time and money. You will have to maintain your outdoor spaces year-round, including by removing snow and ice from sidewalks in the winter. While your home may be a major source of pride, not everyone takes good care of their properties.

Some homeowners neglect important maintenance, especially during the colder winter months. Irresponsible homeowners could actually end up facing large insurance claims or lawsuits if other people get hurt on their property because of snow and ice.

Sidewalks create premises liability

Most businesses with parking lots and sidewalks are quite proactive about using salt to melt the ice that accumulates and removing snow drifts. The looming specter of premises liability claims brought by patrons makes the investment in snow and ice removal a common-sense choice.

Many individual homeowners fail to recognize the importance of addressing frozen precipitation as it accumulates. In Colorado, individual municipalities impose rules regarding sidewalks. While Denver does install sidewalks and sometimes replaces old sidewalk cement, it is typically a property owner’s responsibility to keep sidewalks clear of obstructions and well-maintained.

Both businesses and residential property owners could have liability if someone slips in the snow or ice that they fail to remove from the sidewalks.

Insurance can help after a slip-and-fall

Homeowner’s insurance provides premises liability coverage for individual property owners. You can make a claim against someone’s coverage for medical costs and lost wages if you fall outside their property, as well as any property damage you may have suffered, like broken prescription glasses.

If the fall was outside of the business, the company may have a specialized premises liability policy or a general business liability policy that will cover your losses. In scenarios where there isn’t appropriate insurance or your injuries are severe, a personal injury claim may be necessary following a winter-weather-related slip-and-fall. Understanding the rules about premises liability after winter storms can help those affected by someone else’s poor property maintenance practices.

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