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Understanding Connecticut’s Sidewalk Liability Laws

- October 23, 2017

sidewalk liability lawsAs the temperatures cool, the specifics surrounding Connecticut’s complex sidewalk liability laws becomes more important. When ice makes its way to sidewalks, slip and fall accidents will increase, but who will the liability fall on for injuries due to improper clearing of a public sidewalk? In some states, the answer is simple, but Connecticut has a unique set of laws that govern such claims and liability. While slip and fall injuries that occur in privately owned businesses is plain, there is a statute in the state that makes public sidewalks confusing.

Initially, it is assumed the blame is on the city or municipality for not properly maintaining sidewalks. This applies to many sidewalk conditions but specifically includes inadequate snow and ice removal during the colder months. However, there are two exceptions to the statute that governs this assumption. The first is when a landowner creates the hazard through a positive act. The second exception comes when there has been a law or ordinance created by the city that explicitly states the landowner is the responsible party for the sidewalk and is liable if they fail to clear snow and ice.

In the second exception, the language is clear in the statute that the city must make it clear both that the landowner is responsible for the clearing of snow and ice and that they will be liable if they do not do so. If any element is missing, the law or ordinance will be void. It is also important that the owner is an abutting landowner, meaning the land owned must touch the sidewalk in question. For instance, if there is a café with outdoor seating, an ordinance or law can be passed that the café is responsible for the sidewalk as their property touches the sidewalk in addition to the business using the sidewalk for their business.

These complications mean when someone slips and falls due to a sidewalk being improperly cleared or not cleared at all, it is initially assumed the city is at fault, but they can prove a landowner is the responsible party. Due to this complexity, those who suffer personal injuries have a harder time filing when they slip on sidewalks in Connecticut. Contact our team today to get legal representation on your side that understands the complex nature of sidewalk falls.

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