Can I Sue a Homeowner for Failing to Shovel Snow?

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The winters in Michigan can be brutal. Notorious for frigid temperatures and powerful winds, the season also poses a major hazard in the form of snowy and icy sidewalks.

If the concrete isn’t cleared following every snowfall, the accumulation can freeze over. Should an unsuspecting pedestrian then slip and fall, the resulting injuries can be devastating.

If you were seriously hurt because of a patch of ice, you’re probably wondering who’s responsible for the damages. The state? The municipality? The owner of the property adjacent to the sidewalk?

Since the statutes and ordinances governing snow removal are somewhat complicated, consulting a personal injury attorney who’s well-versed in premises liability is the easiest way to determine fault. A resourceful lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and then help you assign blame and seek damages based on applicable laws.

Who Is Responsible for Clearing Sidewalks in Detroit?

If you slipped on an icy sidewalk in Detroit, there’s a good chance the owner of the home or business adjacent to the scene is liable. While various city and state agencies maintain the streets, bike lanes, and freeways, the municipality expects business owners and residents to maintain the sidewalks.

Property owners and occupiers have an obligation to shovel snow and clear ice from the sidewalks bordering their premises so they’re safe for pedestrian traffic. When doing so, they’re prohibited from depositing the snow, slush, or ice in the shoulder or on the roadway in such a way that it obstructs passing motorists.

It’s important to note that homeowners have a reasonable amount of time to clear the accumulation. Generally speaking, they won’t be considered negligent if they shovel within 24 hours of the snowfall’s end.

In other words, you probably won’t be able to recover damages if you slipped during the middle of a blizzard. In order to hold a homeowner liable, you’re going to have to prove that you had a reasonable expectation of safety given the conditions when walking in front of their house.

How Can I Prove a Homeowner Failed to Clear Their Sidewalks?

When building your claim, the facts of the case will determine what kinds of evidence you’ll need to compile. Generally speaking, though, at least a few of the following pieces of proof will probably bolster your claim:

  • Time-stamped photographs of the snowy or icy sidewalk,
  • Weather reports for the days leading up to the accident,
  • Testimony from neighbors or other eyewitnesses,
  • The homeowner’s history of any snow clearing ordinance violations, and
  • Video doorbell footage of the sidewalk in front of the house from the day of the accident.

Discuss Your Case with a Premises Liability Lawyer in Detroit

To see if you have grounds for action after slipping on a patch of ice, turn to Seva Law Firm. Should you proceed with a personal injury claim, you’ll get the knowledge and experience of a powerhouse practice backing your every move. To set up a free initial case review with a premises liability attorney in Detroit, call (248) 385-5704 or complete our Contact Form.