The Legal Examiner Affiliate Network The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search instagram avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner
Skip to main content

Landowners across the nation are obligated to clear potentially hazardous ice and snow from their property. When a property owner fails to do so, uncleared walkways can easily lead to slip-and-fall injuries. For particularly vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, these falls can be life-threatening.

Premises liability laws are put in place to hold individuals accountable for reducing hazardous conditions on their property. While shoveling laws vary by county, most commercial and private property owners in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia are legally required to manage timely snow removal on their land. For example, Washington, DC homeowners can face monetary fines if their sidewalks and curb cuts are not cleared within 24 hours of a snowstorm, while business owners have only eight daylight hours to do the same. In Virginia, landlords and operators of commercial establishments are required by law to remove snow and ice from entrances and common spaces of their property within a reasonable time after the snow has stopped.

Premises liability lawsuits can be filed against private and commercial property owners who fail to clear ice or snow on a number of claims, including but not limited to:

  • Failure to remove snow and ice in a timely manner
  • Failure to use accepted practices and protocols during snow removal
  • Failure to hire a competent snow removal professional or private contractor
  • Failure to manage pavement areas and parking lots
  • Failure to monitor and react accordingly to slippery conditions
  • Failure to post a warning or sign about hazardous unsafe
  • Failure to comply with national snow industry practices

Property owners who allow snow and ice to remain unaddressed should be held personally responsible for the dangerous slip-and-fall incidents that they cause. Filing a premises liability claim or lawsuit after a fall on someone else’s property gives the injured person a chance to be compensated for the harm that they have experienced and serves to educate the land owner/operator and the public how to minimize such hazards in the future.

If a landlord or business’s failure to remove snow and ice from their premises in a timely manner as required has caused you or a loved one an injury, call us at 703-836-3366, email, or visit us at and we will follow up with you right away.

Comments for this article are closed.