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Property owners are often responsible for sidewalk snow and ice

On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | December 16, 2021

With colder Colorado winter weather comes snow and ice that can make the roads nearly impassible. You might decide to walk to the grocery store from your office rather than drive there.

You could go for a walk around town, only to end up slipping and falling outside of a business or in front of someone's house. If you suffer a serious injury because of ice and snow on the sidewalk, who is responsible for the financial losses you suffer?

Property owners have sidewalk maintenance responsibilities

Colorado state law makes sidewalk maintenance the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. When it snows, sleets or hails, Colorado property owners have to go out and clean the sidewalk on or adjacent to their property. When they do so, they have to put the snow someplace other than into the street.

Of course, you assume some risk if you are out wandering around during inclement weather, as you know that icy road conditions might lead to you slipping and falling, and property owners cannot reasonably maintain perfectly clear sidewalks during such conditions. However, as soon as precipitation stops, the property owner should act to remove the snow.

Any ice or snow left behind on the sidewalk after 24 hours leads to premises liability for the property owner. If you slip and fall because someone hasn't shoveled the sidewalk in weeks, you may be in a position to make a premises liability claim. If it is a residential neighborhood, homeowner's insurance may apply. Business insurance may also apply if it happens in a commercial district.

Knowing your rights if you slip and fall on the sidewalk can help you cover your medical expenses and other losses.

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