Someone falls on your icy walkway are you covered?

This time of year icy walkways and sidewalks are commonplace.  Who is accountable if someone gets injured on your property because of an icy walkway? These are all things a homeowner needs to be aware of.

  1. Must you remove snow and ice hazards from your property?icy walkway

Massachusetts law does require homeowners to clear away snow and ice from walkway and sidewalks on their property. Individual city ordinances do vary  Learn more about the law here.

 

 

 

2. Does your homeowners policy cover you for liability if someone, other than a family member (who lives with you), falls and gets hurt on your icy walkway?

The answer is…maybe. Each claim is investigated to determine negligence.  If the walkway was not cleaned you may be liable.

 

Coverage E of your homeowners policy deals with personal liability. This coverage will:

  1. Pay up to the limit of liability for the damages for which the “insured” is legally liable.  Damages include prejudgment interest awarded against the “insured”; and
  2. Provide a defense at our expense by counsel of our choice, even if the suit is groundless, false or fraudulent.  The company may investigate and settle any claim or suit that they decide is appropriate.  The company’s duty to settle or defend ends when the amount they pay for damages, resulting from the “occurrence”, equals the limit of liability, listed on the policy.

Coverage F of your homeowners policy deals with medical payment for the injured party. This coverage will cover medical expenses for:

  • A person off the “insured location”, if the bodily injury:
    • Arises out of a condition on the “insured location” or the ways immediately adjoining;
    • Is caused by the activities of an “insured”;
    • Is caused by a residence employee  in the course of the residence employee’s employment by an insured; or
    • Is caused by an animal owned by or in the care of an “insured

 

Be sure to shovel and de-ice the walkways around your home so as to avoid issues.

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