Snow Shoveling Laws in Mankato
Winter is officially in full swing, and colder weather brings a barrage of ice and snow to our area. Snow shoveling is a frequent and often annoying chore. It can be tempting to leave the snow and ice on our sidewalks, as it seems like a never-ending duty from October to April. But is it legal? Could you be held responsible for a slip and fall accident on your property? Let’s examine the snow removal laws in our area and whether you’re legally responsible for injuries relating to snow or ice on your sidewalk.
Snow Removal Ordinances in Mankato
According to the ordinances of Mankato, the accumulation of snow on any public sidewalk is deemed a “public nuisance.” The owner or occupant of the property abutting the public sidewalk is required to clear any accumulations of snow and ice within 24 hours. According to local law, you have 24 hours from the time snow or ice ceases to accumulate to clear the sidewalk in front of your property. Clearing the sidewalk refers to its entire width, not just a walking space.
If you fail to clear the snow or ice from the sidewalk in front of your home, the city is allowed to serve you a notice to clear the accumulation that you must comply with in 48 hours. If you still refuse to comply, they’re within their rights to hire a company to remove the accumulation and send you a bill for the services.
Rental Vs. Ownership
If you’re renting a home in Mankato, it’s important to realize these rules apply to you too. People who live in complexes generally have management that takes care of snow removal. If you’re renting a single family home however, you may be responsible for snow removal. According to Mankato law, it is the responsibility of the “owner or occupant.” Talk to your landlord or refer to your leasing agreement to see who is responsible for shoveling and clean-up.
In the event of a snow emergency, there will be no parking permitted on any streets in Mankato. Mankato officials generally call for a snow emergency when there is at least three inches of accumulated snow or ice. In the event of a snow emergency, citizens are permitted to park in their yards, and vehicles may block sidewalks temporarily. Once a snow emergency is lifted, citizens may move their cars back onto the streets and begin clearing their sidewalks. This ensures the most effective and thorough cleanup job possible.
Am I Liable for Slips and Falls on the Sidewalk?
If you fail to take reasonable steps to clear your sidewalk within the required time-frame, you may be subject to legal action. For example, it someone falls on the sidewalk in front of your house and breaks an arm, he or she may be able to sue for damages. The driving factors in a successful civil suit are:
- There were actual damages. If a person slips and falls on the sidewalk in front of your house, they can’t sue for having their pride bruised, for example. There must be documented financial damages, like medical bills.
- Those damages were a direct result of your negligence. Here, officials might look at your compliance with local laws. If a person slipped and fell in the midst of a snowstorm and you have been diligent about keeping your sidewalk clear, they won’t be able to sue for damages. On the other hand, if someone is injured on your sidewalk 48 hours after a snowstorm because your area isn’t clear, you may be sued for damages.
Frequent snow shoveling is an important aspect of keeping our Mankato citizens safe. What’s more, it’s the law. Don’t neglect keeping your sidewalk clear.