With winter in full swing and still several months to go before spring hits, Missourians should be aware of the requirement that they keep their property cleared of snow and icy sidewalks. A failure to do so can result in a person becoming injured or even killed in slip-and-fall accidents and spark a legal filing against the property owner. While people are undoubtedly aware of the legal requirement to keep their property safe, there could be confusion as to the timeline of when the clearing must be done to avoid the potential legal ramifications.

A recent storm brought to light these local and statewide regulations. Following a winter storm, people in the state were working to clear their cars and make sure their driveways were passable. This, however, is not enough to adhere to the law. Children might assist elderly people with shoveling, but not everyone understands or takes the necessary steps to ensure safety and compliance.

In St. Louis, for example, there is an ordinance that requires the owners to shovel a property within 24 hours after the snow has fallen. Failure to do so can lead to fines of as much as $100. But that is not the only risk. People are asked to keep pedestrian areas clear for safety. They are also told not to shovel the snow into other public areas where they will put pedestrians and drivers in danger. Most areas of the state have regulations that require the owners to keep their property clear of ice and snow. There can be differences in the amount of time they are granted before doing so, but it is the law that it be done.

Safety is paramount in a municipality, but it is especially true when there is inclement weather and it results in the possibility that people will become injured or lose their lives when they slip and fall due to the lack of adherence by a property owner. These accidents might not get the amount of attention that car crashes do, but that does not make them any less risky and even deadly. People can suffer head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord damage and more from a slip-and-fall incident. It can require long-term medical care along with the expenses and lost time at work. Death is also possible. After a slip-and-fall incident in which a property owner failed to follow the law for clearing the property, calling a law firm that understands premises liability can help in pursuing compensation in a lawsuit.