Personal Injury – Removing Snow and Ice. Who is responsible? What happens if someone is Hurt on Your Property?
If you own your home… Homeowners are typically responsible for removing snow and ice off their property. If you have homeowner’s insurance your policy will cover the costs if someone else suffers Personal Injury, up to the maximum amount of coverage available. If the medical bills are higher than the insurance coverage under your homeowners policy, you can be held personally responsible for those costs.
If you own rent… If you rent your home you may or may not be responsible for removing ice and snow. 1. If you rent or lease a single family home you are likely responsible for taking care of removing snow and ice. 2. If you live in an apartment complex with typically with several other units, the landlord or property management company should be responsible for removing snow and ice. However, read your rental agreement throughly as there may be a clause in your agreement providing you must take care of snow and ice removal.
Remember, every municipality has different laws regarding snow and ice removal for sidewalks. If you don’t know the laws for your area, be sure to find out as soon as possible by calling your local municipality office. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for example, you have 24 hours to clear sidewalks and walkways of snow and ice. If you fail to clear public pathways and someone reports you to the City of Pittsburgh, you may receive a citation and face fines. However that doesn’t mean you should wait 24 hours to pull out the shovel or salt. You are expected to clear your area within a “reasonable” amount of time. If you had plenty of opportunity to clear your walkways before 24 hours were up and failed to so you still may be held responsible for their Personal Injury or injuries.
What Happens if Someone is Hurt on Your Property? If someone is hurt at your home on your property, one of these three conditions must be met for you to be held legally responsible: 1. You must have caused or created the dangerous condition. 2. You must have known about the dangerous condition but didn’t fix it, or 3. You should have known about the dangerous condition. If one of these three things is true, then a claim against you for injuries on your property will generally go through your homeowner’s insurance first. Liability homeowner’s insurance is designed to cover unintentional injuries on your property. If you don’t have enough liability insurance to cover the claim you may be held personally responsible for the injured person’s expenses related to the accident.
If you were injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident that was caused by snow or ice, you may have questions about what to do now. You may have concerns about filing a claim especially if you were injured visiting a friend or family member. In most instances, such claims are filed against an insurance company not the homeowner. If you have questions or concerns contact us right away to find out if you have a case.