Homeowners and Landlords Can Be Liable for Sidewalk Accidents

Taking the time to ensure a sidewalk abutting a homeowner's property is hazard free isn't just a neighborly thing to do, it's often a legal requirement. Massachusetts state law allows cities and towns to require homeowners to remove hazards like snow and ice from sidewalks and implement fines for violations.

Of course, snow and ice are not the only hazards that can lead to accidents. Many walkers, runners and bicyclists enjoying the warm weather can experience an accident if they slip and fall or trip over a hazard related to tree roots or pooling water, common in warmer weather months. A homeowner may be liable for these injuries as well.

Liability and Sidewalk Injuries

A property owner has a duty to take reasonable action correct any known dangerous conditions that may exist on their property, and many counties are extending this to include public sidewalks.

In fact, some cities are going as far as holding property owners liable for injuries caused by damage done to a public sidewalk resulting from trees that were planted by the city. As a result, it is prudent for homeowners to have insurance that covers these accidents.

Homeowners should also inspect their property for common hazards. Those often found on sidewalks include:

  • Large gaps between sidewalk sections
  • Large holes or cracks in concrete
  • Sidewalk that is lower than the curb, often allowing for pooling of water which poses as a slipping hazard
  • Plants growing between sidewalk sections or that extend onto the sidewalk

If you or a loved one is injured while using a sidewalk due to one of these or similar hazards, legal remedies may be available to cover the cost of medical and rehabilitative expenses. Contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer to discuss your situation.