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Sidewalk Snow Shoveling Rules Across Massachusetts

This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone

Slick walkways can cause serious slip and fall injuries. That’s a major concern for property owners when temperatures drop below freezing and snow hits the ground, and it’s important that all property owners understand legal requirements for clearing snow from their premises.

The requirements vary from city to city in Massachusetts, and if a property owner doesn’t follow the requirements of their city, they can face a fine. Property owners can also be held liable if someone suffers a slip and fall injury due to a failure to clear their premises of ice or snow.

Let’s start by looking at snow shoveling requirements in Boston.

What Are the Snow Shoveling Laws in Boston?

According to the city, Boston property owners must do the following after a storm:

  • Clear sidewalks and curb ramps within three hours after it stopped snowing.
  • If it snowed overnight, clear sidewalks and curb ramps within three hours after sunrise.
  • Clear at least a 42-inch-wide path for people using wheelchairs and pushing strollers.

If they fail to shovel snow according to the stipulations above, property owners face $50 fines if their buildings have 16 or fewer units, and $100 fines if their buildings have more than 16 units. The fine for businesses who fail to clear snow in accordance with the above requirements is $200.

The Laws Vary For Each City in Massachusetts

Though property owners are responsible for shoveling snow in Boston, those rules don’t apply to all communities in Massachusetts. For example, Natick, Peabody, and Westwood don’t fine homeowners for a failure to shovel snow, though each of those cities have different rules regarding who is responsible for shoveling snow.

In Brockton, homeowners and businesses are required to shovel snow within eight hours after snow and precipitation stops or else they face a $50 fine. In Cambridge, homeowners and businesses have 12 hours after snowfall or precipitation stops to shovel snow if it stops during the day and before 1 p.m. if it stops overnight, and they have six hours after snowfall or precipitation stops for ice removal.

Because requirements are specific for each location, it’s important for property owners and homeowners to understand the ordinances in their community.

To find out more about the snow shoveling ordinances in your community, check out this Boston Globe article.

The Rights of Slip and Fall Victims

When a city’s ordinances specifically allocate responsibility for shoveling snow, it can make an even stronger case if someone slips and falls because of a property owner’s failure to act. However, it’s always worth speaking to an attorney if you’re injured by snow or ice on someone else’s property.

Just because your community doesn’t have specific snow shoveling ordinances in place doesn’t mean you are without legal options. Businesses should have a plan in place to deal with snow and ice on their properties. When they don’t, they might have some degree of liability for injuries that occur because of their failure to act

Contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers to Explore Your Legal Options

The Boston slip and fall attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers have years of experience in these cases. We know how seriously a person’s life can be impacted when a business or property owner fails to clear snow from their walkways.

If you’d like a free case evaluation, contact our team today to get started.

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