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Snow removal laws and a property owner's responsibilities

Last winter, the entire northeastern U.S. region saw record-setting amounts of snow. In fact, according to the news station WXEDGE, as of April 1 last year inland Connecticut had received nearly 64 inches of snow which was nearly double the state's average snowfall of 38 inches. If this year's snow accumulation totals are anything close to those experienced last winter, state residents would be wise to prepare now.

For many Hartford residents, shoveling is one of the most-dreaded tasks associated with heavy snowfalls. While some residents may choose to put off shoveling, reasoning that mother nature and an expected warm in temperatures will take care of the white drifts outside their doorstep, property owners who fail to shovel and salt may end up paying dearly if a passerby is injured in a slip-and-fall accident.

The city of Hartford has laws related to a property owner's obligations with regard to when and how snow and ice should be removed. According to the website, property owners are required to remove snow from the sidewalks in front of their residences and properties as well as any driveways located on a property within five hours of a snowfall ending. Additionally, when removing snow from one's property, it is illegal to shovel or blow the snow into city streets.

Property owners who fail to properly or adequately maintain the sidewalks and entrances outside a home or business cause hazardous conditions that endanger the physical safety of others. Consequently, a property owner who fails to abide by the city's snow removal laws assumes liability for any accidents that may result due to his or her negligent acts.

Source: Connecticut General Assembly, "STATE LAW ON SNOW REMOVAL FROM SIDEWALKS," Kevin E. McCarthy, Feb. 15, 2005

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