Friday, January 8, 2010
Removing snow outside your house
I've been hearing and reading about this a lot lately with our snowy weather and wonder what people think. In the UK, it seems to be taken for granted that if you clear the pavements outside your house you are liable to be sued if anyone slips and falls. I think that's absolutely crazy! The people at the BBC have obviously noticed this discussion on forums and twitter too because they've got an article about it in BBC News Magazine: Is it your civic duty to clear snow? Local authorities in the UK are responsible for gritting and salting public roads and pavements, but what about your own path and the pavement in front of your home? Is it your civic duty to keep them clear for others? In fact, you are taking a theoretical legal risk if you clear the pavement in front of your home. It's worth noting a glimmer of sense in the article: But, Paul Kitson, a partner with leading personal injury solicitors Russell Jones & Walker, explains that a claimant would have to show you had acted either maliciously or carelessly, and that such a case would often be tricky in practice. So there you have it. It seems like a crazy country if people have to be afraid to clear their pavements (sidewalks) in front of their property in case they are sued. I just don't understand this mentality at all. As the BBC article points out, it's your legal duty to clear your sidewalks in Minneapolis (Minnesota). So if you live in the UK, what do you do? Do you go ahead and clear the pavement in front of your house, even though there is a theoretical legal risk? Or do you leave the snow and ice there? What about where you live? What are the laws regarding snow removal outside your property? Update: Edited to add a link to an article in The Telegraph on Saturday 9 Jan, 2010 Healthy and safety experts warn: don't clear icy pavements, you could get sued Pavements are being left covered in ice because of “ludicrous” laws that put home owners and businesses at risk of being sued if they try to clear them.