So a few minutes after I posted on Monday about getting prepared for snow, I checked the forecast and saw that we may be in for a big one this weekend. Sorry about that.
Since we’re on the topic, it’s a good time for a reminder that here in Massachusetts, property owners do have a legal responsibility to remove snow and ice from their property after a storm. That wasn’t always the case, but in 2010 the Supreme Judicial Court decided a case (Papadopoulous v. Target Corp.) that overturned the long-standing Massachusetts rule that a property owner wasn’t liable for injuries caused by a “natural accumulation” of snow and ice. From the court’s 2010 ruling, the new rule is that it “is not reasonable for a property owner to leave snow or ice on a walkway where it is reasonable to expect that a hardy New England visitor would choose to risk crossing the snow or ice, rather than turn back or attempt an equally or more perilous walk around it.’’
For a great explanation of what this decision means for you, check out this post from last winter at the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog. Basically, don’t be lazy and take care of the snow and ice on your driveway and sidewalk so your mail carrier or visiting friend doesn’t wipe out. If you’re not able to do it yourself, make sure you have a friend, family member, or hired hand do it. Keep yourself and your neighbors safe this weekend, and stay warm!