Snow and ice are sure to be on the way here in metro Detroit and throughout Michigan. State laws defer snow removal to local governmental agencies, so it is recommended that business and homeowners know their local ordinances and the requirements that are in place.
Snow and ice that accumulates on walkways, driveways, and exterior stairs can be hazardous, especially for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with limited mobility. To prevent wintry slip and fall accidents, southeastern Michigan business and property owners should take care to become familiar with their local snow removal guidelines.
To prevent costly accidents, property owners should:
- Clear sidewalks and driveways within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. For businesses, snow should be cleared within a few hours
- Clear all walkways adjacent to the property, including stairs
- Clear ramps and other disability access features within the same timeframe
Property owners should, of course, take care to protect themselves while shoveling:
- Dress in layers when shoveling to stay warm
- Wear proper non-slip footwear while shoveling to prevent falls
- Lift shovel properly, with legs bent
- Prevent back strain by moving snow to the side, not twisting to throw it over the shoulder
- Use the right shovel for the right job, such as considering an ergonomic shovel – or use a snowblower
If more than one wave of snowfall is expected, it is a good idea to shovel or snow blow between storms. Accumulated snow can get extremely heavy, and sudden heavy lifting can lead to back pain, muscle strain, torn ligaments, and even heart attacks. Businesses or residents can always hire a third party to handle snow removal in southeastern Michigan if feasible.
Elderly people and those with heart conditions or a history of strokes should avoid shoveling snow altogether. The combination of cold weather and strenuous exercise can be a strain on the heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 16,000 adults are treated for shoveling-related injuries in hospitals each winter.
Failure to Clear Snow and Ice May Lead to Injury and Liability
If a sidewalk is not properly cleared of snow and ice, and someone slips and falls, the property owner could be responsible. If the person sustains an injury that results from the fall, the injured victim has the right to pursue a premises liability lawsuit.
The content above is designed to help prevent you or your business from being liable for a slip and fall accident. However, you or someone close to you could be a victim of such a case as well. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you might be eligible to collect compensation for your injuries. To learn more about your case, call a personal injury attorney at Bashore Green Law. We will work with you to determine the merits of your case.