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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Smilk

Navigating Liability Concerns in Ice and Snow Management

Updated: Jan 3



When winter blankets our landscapes in a shimmering coat of snow and ice, property owners and managers face a challenging concern beyond the winter wonderland—the liability associated with these weather conditions. Eastern knows that the serene beauty of snowfall often conceals potential hazards, creating a complex landscape of legal responsibilities and risks.

 
Liability Issues in Snow and Ice Management

Snow and ice pose significant risks to individuals traversing commercial properties. Slip-and-fall accidents are among the most common incidents during winter months, potentially leading to injuries and property damage. These incidents can result in legal actions against property owners or managers if negligence in snow and ice removal is evident.

 

Property owners and managers have a duty of care to maintain reasonably safe premises, including ensuring safe passage during winter weather. Neglecting proper snow and ice removal, failing to address known hazards promptly, or improperly managing these weather-related risks could expose them to potential lawsuits and liability claims.


Frivolous lawsuits from slip and fall accidents on icy surfaces pose significant risks to commercial properties. These lawsuits, often based on minor incidents, can have substantial repercussions, burdening businesses with exorbitant legal fees, time-consuming litigation, and reputaitonal damage. Even if the property owner has taken reasonable steps for snow and ice management, a single incident can lead to a lawsuit alleging negligence.


The potential for these lawsuits underscores the importance of proactive measures, such as engaging professional snow removal services and documenting meticulous maintenance efforts, to mitigate risks and safeguard against unwarranted legal actions.

 

Navigating the Legal Landscape

Understanding and mitigating liability risks associated with snow and ice management is crucial. Property owners and managers must proactively address these challenges to minimize liability exposure:

 

  • Regular Maintenance and Monitoring: Implement a comprehensive snow and ice management plan with regular inspections and maintenance. Removing snow and ice from walkways, parking lots, and other high-traffic areas is essential to reduce risks.

 

  • Documentation and Record-Keeping: Maintain detailed records of snow and ice removal activities, including the dates, times, methods used, and any incidents. Accurate documentation can serve as crucial evidence in case of legal disputes.

 

  • Compliance with Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local ordinances and regulations related to snow and ice removal. Compliance with these rules is vital to avoid fines and penalties and ensure a safer environment.

 

  • Hiring Professional Services: Consider partnering with Eastern, a professional snow and ice management company. Our professionals are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to mitigate risks and liabilities associated with snow removal.

 

  • Insurance Coverage and Risk Management: Review and update insurance coverage to ensure adequate protection against liability claims from snow and ice-related incidents. Work with legal and risk management professionals to proactively assess and address potential risks.

 

In snow and ice management, the specter of liability looms large. Property owners and managers must prioritize safety, proactive maintenance, and compliance with regulations to mitigate liability risks effectively. By implementing a comprehensive strategy that includes proper planning, documentation, and professional services from Eastern, businesses can navigate the challenges of snow and ice and safeguard against potential legal liabilities.

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