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Dangerous Property / Dec 15,2021

Who’s responsible after you slip on an icy section of sidewalk?

The more frequently you walk outdoors in the winter, the more likely it is that you have a good pair of boots. Proper insulation and good traction are both very important to safe and comfortable walking during Colorado winter weather.

Sadly, even the best pair of boots can’t protect you from a section of sidewalk rendered as slick as a skating rink by someone’s failure to shovel snow or to melt the ice. If you fall on a section of slippery sidewalk, you could suffer major injuries. You could break a bone, sprain a major joint or even suffer a traumatic brain injury. Who is responsible for medical bills, lost wages and any property damage you experienced because you fell on an icy section of sidewalk? 

Property owners have an obligation to clear Colorado sidewalks

Sidewalks make communities walkable. They are a crucial element of infrastructure, and they do require maintenance during the winter season. Municipalities and state agencies have neither the funding nor the resources to maintain clear sidewalks across the state.

To ensure that sidewalks are safe and usable, Colorado law requires that property owners clear the sidewalks adjacent to their properties. Once the storm thesis or the snow stops falling, property owners must clear their sidewalks within 24 hours. Leaving ice and snow on the sidewalks is a violation of a property owner’s obligations under state law.

It is also a form of negligence. Most people could reasonably guess that icy or snow-covered sidewalks will put pedestrians at greater risk of falling. Anyone hurt could potentially bring a claim against the owner of the property next to the sidewalk where they fell.

What does a sidewalk claim involve?

Depending on the circumstances, someone who slips on a section of uncleared sidewalk could have a couple of different options for compensation. Typically, both homeowner’s insurance policies and business premises liability policies will cover slip-and-fall incidents.

If there isn’t insurance that applies, then the person who gets hurt may need to file a civil lawsuit against the property owner. Any provable losses, ranging from replacing the screen on your cell phone that cracked when you fell to the weeks of unearned wages you lost because you were in the hospital, could be part of such a civil lawsuit.

Learning the basics of Colorado premises liability claims can help you hold someone accountable for their negligent property maintenance.

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