What if someone slips on my sidewalk in front of my house… could I be held accountable?
Just suppose a neighbor slipped and fell on your icy sidewalk and ran up thousands of dollars in rehab from a chiropractor in Nyack lets say…
Would you be held responsible?
After all, ice and snow are a big part of winter in many states across the USA.
A slip on the ice could cause a back injury, neck or even worse a head injury. It could even prove fatal.
Could you be personally held accountable for the medical bills and any pain and suffering??
If you talk to a lawyer, like this fellow here they will say most probably not. You don’t own the sidewalk, the city or county does.
The question comes down to who created the slippery condition? Was it ice and snow? Then that is an act of God.
Did you negligently cause water to spill and ice over because of deferred maintenance? That may be another story then.
Your insurance company might think otherwise. Talk to your agent to see what your home owners policy says.
There have been examples of homeowners being sued.
If you own a business it is a totally different game. Here is a list of things you can do to protect your business from accuweather.com
1. Make sure the business is well-insured, a $1 million insurance policy won’t cover a multi-million dollar injury.
2. Keep snowblowers, shovels and salt handy at all times.
3. Make sure all employees are trained and knowledgeable to act reasonably.
4. During a snowstorm that lasts for multiple hours, get out there and shovel in a lull period.
5. If shoveling isn’t an option, contract with a local plow company before the storm.
These principles can be used to help protect your liability at home too.