In Missoula and across Montana, there are many winter activities that can be enjoyed when there is snow on the ground. From sledding to skiing to simply playing outside with children, it can be a fun and bonding experience. However, there is no doubt that inclement weather exponentially increases the danger of falling and suffering injuries when simply walking outside to go to the store, going to work or taking a child to school. People might think that a fall is simply a matter of circumstance and bad luck. However, there are rules in place as to when snow and ice must be removed and where it should be placed. Violations could be the basis for a legal claim.
When must snow and ice be cleared?
Anyone who owns, oversees or is a tenant of a building or part of land where there is a sidewalk or other area for pedestrian traffic is responsible for clearing ice and snow. This is to ensure that it is safe and passable. This includes snow, ice mud, slush or anything else that might impede safe passage. From the time the snow stops, the cleanup must be done by 9 a.m. the following day.
Ice and slush can also be slippery and there are steps that must be taken to maximize safety. To give people the safest possible walkways, sand or ice melting solutions must be used. To dispose of the snow and ice, it cannot be placed on or near a fire hydrant, walkways in front of other residences, on the curb, in the gutter, in a handicap parking space, the road, by the shoulder of the road, or in lanes for public transportation or emergency vehicles.
Those who slip and are hurt on another person’s property have options
Slipping and falling on snow and ice can cause serious injuries including brain trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones, pulled muscles and more. This may lead to major medical expenses, lost time at work and the need for long-term care. In some cases, the property owner did not live up to their responsibility to clear the snow and ice. If this is the case, then it is imperative to know the options under premises liability. Having advice with how to handle these issues can be essential and it is key to discuss the case with experienced people immediately.