With the recent ice storm bringing snow and more lake effect snow on the way, your sidewalk may be covered in snow and ice. When it comes to removing snow from public sidewalks, who is legally responsible in Buffalo?

When the snow accumulates on the sidewalk in front of your home, are you responsible for making sure it is removed from the sidewalk? If a person slips on ice on a public sidewalk in front of your house, can they sue you? Here's What you need to know.

Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash
Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash

Who Is Responsible For Removing Snow From Public Sidewalks In Buffalo

The answer is YOU! Here's what the code says,

It shall be the duty of every owner or occupant of any premises abutting any public street to remove, before 9:00 a.m., all snow and ice which may have fallen upon the sidewalk abutting said premises. In case said sidewalk is not paved its full width, it shall be necessary to remove such snow or ice from a space three feet in width. The owner or occupant of lands fronting or abutting on any street, highway, traveled road, public lane, alley or square shall make, maintain and repair the sidewalk adjoining his lands and shall keep such sidewalk and the gutter free and clear of and from snow, ice and all other obstructions.


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Can You Be Sued If Someone Slips And Falls On A Snowy Sidewalk?

In Buffalo, the answer is YES! If someone falls due to snow or ice on the sidewalk near your property, you could also be held legally liable,

Such owner or occupant, and each of them, shall be liable for any injury or damage by reason of omission, failure or negligence to make, maintain or repair such sidewalk or failure or negligence to keep such sidewalk and the gutter free and clear of and from snow, ice and all other obstructions.

So, even though the sidewalk is city property, it is your responsibility to remove snow and ice from it. You'll also need to clear snow from any areas where a handicap access cut is. If it has become so icy or thick that you can't easily remove it with a shovel, you'll need to put salt down,

In case the snow and ice on the sidewalks or handicapped access cut shall be frozen so hard that it cannot be removed without material difficulty or injury to the pavement, the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any building or lot of ground, as aforesaid, shall, within the time specified in the preceding subsections, cause the sidewalk or handicapped access cut abutting said premises to be strewn with ashes, sand, sawdust or some suitable materials.

**This article is not intended to provide legal advice or counsel

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