Laws on clearing snow and liability

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I've read on here that if someone slips on the path outside your house they can claim against you. After all the snow lately I've been getting it in the ear from the OH about clearing the snow from our path and how it's the law etc. etc. We even got a 2 page note in the letter box about it the other day.

 

I don't think I'm above the law and I'm an advocate of 'When in Rome'. Also, I think it's a good idea that everyone is responsible for ensuring their own area is safe for pedestrians. My question is, how is this enforcable as a law? The snow MUST be cleared before a certain time everyday but how can someone claim damages against you if they slip and injure themselves or worse? For example what if:

 

1. You are away on holiday, it snows and someone slips and breaks their neck. Are you still liable?

2. What if you work nights or sleep late and it snows, someone breaks their leg at 7.31 AM before you return from work/get up. Are you still liable?

3. What if you clear the snow away but someone slips on the ice you just can't shift. Are you still liable?

4. You clear the snow away leaving a path with not one piece of snow or ice and retire to the warmth safe in the knowledge of a job well done. It snows again without your knowledge and someone slips and injures themselves. Are you still liable?

5. You clear the snow perfectly but nevertheless someone falls and injure themselves. Are you still liable?

6. You know you've cleared everything perfectly but someone says they've fallen and been injured. Are you still liable?

7. What if you're laid up with a broken leg and can't physically clear the snow away. Are you still liable?

 

Who is responsible for enforcing this law and what powers do they have? Should I get out more?

 

Any thoughts appreciated.

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I heard, mind you "heard", that if you have kept up with a clear path and placed something such as sand or cinder, salt, etc.. You should be fine. It should be a place for them to walk unrestricted.

 

This is not just a "german" topic. My sister in the states lives in a snowy place and must keep her sidewalk clear for walking to include in the summer time when the sidewalk buckles. All must be unrestricted for the pedestrian by law or will be charged by the community and can be held liable.

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Indeed. This is not a problem unique to Germany, although more common here. Many people who have lived on private roads in the UK have had just the same issue.

 

Your neighbour. A relative. A mate. A co-worker. Loads of possibilities that work round the "but what if my life's not 100% perefect" scenario. And presumably, if all else fails, it's the sort of thing that church / charity groups help needy people out with (home help style).

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Yep, if you're not able to clear the snow because you're either working or on holiday, you need to find someone else to do it for you. You're liable if someone injures himself and that's where the Haftpflichtversicherung comes in.

 

Here's a good article that answers a lot of questions: Räum- und Streupflicht

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If you don't want to shovel snow at 6.30 am, you can hire someone, see Winterdienst. Then, the responsibility and liability is on the company. I wouldn't neglect this, just imagine someone breaking a leg, a wrist or something. If a sidewalk or path to your house wasn't cleared at all, the injured person is quite likely to sue you.

EDIT: If you live in an apartment block, the Hausverwaltung usually organizes someone to do the job.

 

In many cities it is not allowed to use salt for environmental reasons, as is the case in Stuttgart.

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In many cities it is not allowed to use salt for environmental reasons, as is the case in Stuttgart.

We have to use that Rollsplit stuff that is supplied in a box beside the street around the corner from our house.

 

I think this duty does need to be taken pretty seriously - there was some talk in that article of being charged with causing bodily harm if someone injures himself badly. That said, we do what we can, and no one has wiped out yet. B)

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I guess pedestrians also have to watch out. If someone decides to walk on snow with stilettos and slips, then they don't have a good case. It is just when obviously nothing at all has been done about the snow on a sidewalk, the residents would be liable.

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OK... today I cleared the snow away from outside of the house and along the public path down the side of the garden... I don't see any of the neighbours putting rock salt down once they cleared the snow away, is it a legal requirement to put salt down?

 

Thanks

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No, and it's likely prohibited for private households. You're supposed to use sand/grit.

 

Check your city/county's web site for more details.

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No, and it's likely prohibited for private households. You're supposed to use sand/grit.

 

Check your city/county's web site for more details.

 

I have some rock salt and a very small amount of sand.. would it be OK to mix it up and use on the footpath?

 

Toom only seem to sell bags of rock salt

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To use salt on public ground is against the local rules almost everywhere, and it makes sense. Salt is a tree-killer. If you want to damage trees on your own ground- your problem.

 

An alternative to sand and gravel is ash, preferably wood ash. Works well and is evironmental friendly.

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I'm guessing that he's adding a slight twist to the superstition of what to do when you've spilled some salt.

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OK, today, I emailed the local council and explained that we only have rock salt.

 

their reply was

 

"Hello, salt on the footpath outside the house is ok."

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