Isn’t it true that elf and security have gone insane? The weather has sparked multiple reports on how clearing ice from the sidewalk outside your residence exposes you to legal action.
As Jack of Kent noted in a series of tweets, sweeping the sidewalk entails taking a care duty, which means that if you do it incorrectly, you might be held accountable if someone is injured. (To be precise, he isn’t implying that this has ever occurred.)
Mark Pack poses the crucial topic. Has anybody ever been successful in suing someone for sweeping snow off the sidewalk in front of their residence?
Do not clear snow, according to the media!
You’d assume someone might be aware of this. After all, one can find information about the danger in a variety of places:
- “If we hand it upon ourselves to grit sidewalks or cleanse them of snow through other measures, we expose ourselves to the risk of being sued by people who stumble if we ever do the comparatively lesser job,” writes the Daily Telegraph. (Source.)
- “If you clean the sidewalk in front of your house, you’re incurring a speculative legal risk,” the BBC says. “It would be pretty tough to show and quite tough to pursue with a claim,” they acknowledge. (Source.)
- “Landlords and companies have been cautioned not to remove snowy sidewalks because they might be prosecuted if someone stumbles,” according to The Sun. (Source.)
- The Daily Mail reports that residents and businesses have indeed been told not to remove snowy sidewalks for fear of being sued if anyone ever slips. (Source.)
I think this risk of litigation is reasonable. Shouldn’t someone be allowed to prosecute you if you perform something improperly and cause an injury as the outcome?
Nevertheless, I decided to look on Google for any instance of a winning lawsuit in the United Kingdom over a poorly plowed icy sidewalk.
Is this something that has ever happened?
So I looked up “sue slipped ice” on Google to see what I could find out. The question is being asked by a large number of people. Moreover, several people are using or have prosecuted local governments over how they grated (or did not grit) the roadways.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate a significant record of this having happened throughout the top 250 results…
So I looked up “sue pavement cleaned snow” in Google and couldn’t find any evidence of a legal case, victorious or not, in the top 100 results.
To summarize, when you’re doing something that puts individuals in danger, they may prosecute you if they suffer harm as a result of your conduct. If they could be victorious is yet another question – and there don’t seem to be any known incidents of people suing upon falling over on a sidewalk that had been strewn with snow by somebody who didn’t do a good job removing it.
(And keep in mind that this isn’t the case in your home driveway, so you have a duty of care to be careful of anyone who might come to visit – and thus must keep it safe.)